Sarries put Toulouse to the sword

Date published: November 14 2015

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Saracens cruised to an opening round victory in the Champions Cup as they beat Toulouse 32-7 at Allianz Park on Saturday.

The home side outscored their opponents three tries to one but failed to secure a bonus point which could prove crucial later on in their pool which also includes Ulster and Oyonnax.

The fixture was overshadowed by Friday's terror attacks in Paris and a moment of silence was observed in impeccable fashion before kick-off as both teams paid their respects to the victims of the tragedy.

Toulouse 's decision-making – especially in the opening half – was poor and one can't help but feel that they made an incorrect decision by agreeing to continue with this match as it was obvious they were affected by the tragic events in Paris.

They were all at sea during the opening period and it took until the 50th minute for them to register their opening points.

That should not take anything away from Saracens' performance, however, as the hosts were clinical in their execution and made the most of the opportunities presented to them, especially in the opening half.

Sarries opened the scoring as early as the fourth minute when Owen Farrell landed a penalty after the visitors strayed offside on defence.

The England pivot then doubled the lead with another three-pointer from the kicking tee after Maxime Médard was penalised for holding onto the ball on the ground.

The hosts continued to dominate and extended their lead in the15th minute when Mako Vunipola powered over from close quarters to score the opening try.

Farrell added the extras and kept the scoreboard ticking with three further penalties before Chris Wyles crossed in the left-hand corner after Farrell, Brad Barritt and Alex Goode combined brilliantly in he build-up.

Toulouse's problems were stacking up and things went from bad to worse in the 29th minute when Census Johnston was yellow-carded after he tried to halt the momentum of a Saracens drive at a line-out in cynical fashion by entering the maul from an offside position.

The visitors had an opportunity to open their account, shortly before half-time, when they were awarded a penalty in front of the uprights but their captain Thierry Dusautoir opted to take a scrum in a bid to cross the whitewash.

That decision back-fired as their opponents' defence held firm and the visitors eventually conceded a penalty which meant Sarries led 27-0 at half-time.

Sarries continued to dominate after the break and were soon 32-0 up when Wyles crossed for his second try shortly after the restart after Barritt intercepted a wayward Toulouse pass in the build-up.

That was the last time the home side would score points, however. Toulouse upped the ante as they went in search of the result and were eventually rewarded when Christopher Tolofua barged over under the posts in the 51st minute.

The rest of the half was an even affair as both sides tried hard to add more points but they cancelled each other out with solid defensive efforts.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries: Wyles 2, M Vunipola
Con: Farrell
Pens: Farrell 5

For Toulouse:
Try: Tolofua
Con: Bézy
Yellow card: Johnston

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 George Kruis, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Marcelo Bosch.

Toulouse: 15 Maxime Médard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Gael Fickou, 12 Toby Flood, 11 Timoci Matanavou, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Sébastien Bézy, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Thierry Dusautoir (c), 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Joe Tekori, 4 Yoann Maestri, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Julien Marchand, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Romain Millo-Chluski, 20 Imanol Harinordoquy, 21 Talalelei Gray, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23 Yann David.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

By David Skippers

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