Saracens enjoyed a victorious opening to Aviva Premiership life at Allianz Park as they overcame Exeter Chiefs 31-11 on Saturday.
Saracens enjoyed a victorious start to Aviva Premiership life at Allianz Park as they defeated Exeter Chiefs 31-11 with a bonus-point on Saturday.
Exeter headed into the game keen to bounce back from their league loss to Sale, while Sarries lost to London Irish in their last Premiership game.
A slow start brought no points, and it wasn't until the 24th minute that the deadlock was broken, when Gareth Steenson's penalty opened matters.
The three points came after the Chiefs had been reduced to fourteen men following the sin-binning of Luke Arscott after a promising Saracens break.
Saracens were unable to make their numerical advantage tell, though three minutes after Arscott's reintroduction they hit back, when Charlie Hodgson dummied his way over. Hodgson dusted himself down to add the conversion, and it remained 7-3 to Saracens until half-time.
A lively start to the second period brought 20 points in the first 15 minutes following the restart, and the lion's share were scored by Saracens.
Hodgson's penalty on 43 put Sarries a converted try up, before Matt Stevens snapped up Neil De Kock's pass to crash over and put the hosts further in front.
Steenson responded with a penalty for the Chiefs, but the hosts were in again shortly after through Mako Vunipola's rampaging drive. Hodgson again added the conversion, and the points were settled when Vunipola added his second ten minutes from the final whistle.
Hodgson was again on target with the extras and, though Exeter had the last laugh through Richard Baxter's late consolation, Sarries were well worth the comfortable winning margin.
Tries: Hodgson, Stevens, Vunipola 2
Con: Hodgson 4
Pen: Steenson 2
Yellow: Arscott (19 mins – hands in ruck)
Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 James Short, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Adam Powell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Alistair Hagreaves, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Joe Maddock.
Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Jack Nowell, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Will Chudley, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Richard Baxter (capt), 5 Damian Welch, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Alex Brown, 19 Tom Hayes, 20 Aly Muldowney, 21 Haydn Thomas, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Phil Dollman.
Referee: Martin Fox
Assistant referees: Robin Goodliffe, Stuart Terheege
Television match official: Geoff Warren
Timekeeper: Clive Leeke
Assessor: Ed Morrison