Saracens started the New Year with a 22-6 win over London Irish at Allianz Park, which keeps them in touch with the Aviva Premiership pace-setters.
A try in either half from David Strettle proved decisive as the forgotten England international wing showed his finishing class on a wet day.
Owen Farrell landed 12 points off the kicking tee as Saracens secured a deserved victory, with the forwards laying the platform on Saturday.
Billy Vunipola was awarded the man of the match award too as the home side’s England contingent all had strong games to begin 2015.
London Irish failed to get any points on the board in the first-half despite a strong performance in the first quarter.
Saracens came to life after the opening 20, with two penalties for Farrell and a try courtesy of Strettle, giving them an 11-0 lead at half-time.
Tom Homer managed to claim some points for London Irish in the second-half with two successful penalties but Saracens proved too strong for the visitors in the end. Two further penalties for Farrell and another try for Strettle ensured the Saracens 22-6 victory.
The first quarter of the game went by with no points for either team until Farrell successfully kicked his first penalty on 23 minutes for Saracens.
After a strong start to the game, Irish started to make some mistakes and the errors eventually gave Farrell another penalty to give the home side some breathing space from their visitors.
As the Exiles gave away more penalties, Saracens took advantage of this and of their particular dominance at the scrum to claim the only try of the first half. The push at the scrum drew the Irish defence and a few passes down towards the wing opened up a space for Strettle and he crashed over in the corner to give his side an 11-0 lead at half-time.
London Irish got some light relief early on in the second half with Homer’s first penalty finally getting some points on the board for the visitors.
It was now Saracens who were conceding the penalties and after they were warned by referee Tim Wigglesworth about their discipline, Irish full-back Homer took advantage and kicked another penalty to bring the gap to five points.
However, two further penalties for Farrell discounted the hard work of Homer and the Saracens were now firmly back in control.
A fantastic series of passes down the line once again found Strettle and after catching the ball on the spin, he showed his sheer strength to force his way over the line for his second try.
The Exiles did well to keep out Mark McCall’s men as they fought hard in the last few minutes for the third try but still, the Saracens claimed the 22-6 victory.
Tries: Strettle 2
Pen: Farrell 4
For London Irish:
Pen: Homer 2
Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Chris Wyles, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves (c), 4 George Kruis, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 James Johnston, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Tim Streather.
London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Conor Gilsenan, 6 Kieran Low, 5 Nic Rouse, 4 George Skivington (c), 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Harry Allen, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Richard Palframan, 17 Leo Halavatau, 18 Halani Aulika, 19 Sean Cox, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Tom