Planet Rugby

Sarries hold off spirited Wasps

04th November 2012 15:55

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Charlie Hodgson kicking one of seven

Seven penalties: Charlie Hodgson

Saracens missed the chance to go top of the Premiership table on Sunday after a late try saw their margin of victory over Wasps reduced to 29-24.

In a first period that ebbed and flowed, the two teams went into the break level at 14-14. Sarries' points came through an Alistair Hargreaves try and three Charlie Hodgson penalties, while Wasps' Nicky Robinson added two from the tee and a drop to go alongside Tom Varndell's try.

But four more Hodgson three-pointers and one from Nils Mordt gained the victory, although Charlie Davies secured a losing bonus-point for the visitors which meant Saracens were denied top spot due to Quins' better points difference.

It was the hosts that found themselves up by three points early on. Instigated by a David Strettle break, Wasps infringed at the resulting ruck and Hodgson converted the penalty opportunity.

But the High Wycombe-based outfit immediately hit back with a superb try as good work from Christian Wade and Hugo Southwell allowed Varndell to go over unopposed. Robinson failed to convert, but he kicked a drop-goal after 20 minutes to extend that advantage.

However, their lead didn't last long as successive penalties from the hosts' fly-half took the score to 9-8. South African lock forward Hargreaves then charged down Davies' attempted clearance for a simple touchdown, but Robinson added two more from the tee - the second coming after the Sarries' try-scorer had been sin-binned - to level matters.

Mordt, on briefly for Hodgson, and the visiting fly-half traded penalties at the start of the second-half before the returning Hodgson took Saracens 20-17 ahead. And three more Hodgson kicks sealed the victory despite Davies' consolation try, which was converted.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Try: Hargreaves
Pen: Hodgson 7, Mordt
Yellow: Hargreaves (38 mins)

For London Wasps:
Tries: Varndell, Davies
Con: Bell
Pen: Robinson 3
Drop: Robinson

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Kameli Ratuvou, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Matt Stevens.
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 George Kruis, 20 Will Fraser, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Joe Maddock.

London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (c), 14 Tom Varndell, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Chris Bell, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 James Haskell, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Zak Taulafo, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Phil Swainston, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 James Cannon, 20 Jonathan Poff, 21 Jonah Holmes, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Andrea Masi.

Referee: JP Doyle

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