Planet Rugby

Saracens not so pretty in pink

20th April 2008 16:48

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Richard Haughton Adam Powell Saracens

Tickled Pink: Richard Haughton and Adam Powell botch a pass

A concerted second-half fightback was not enough to save Saracens from an ignominious 40-29 defeat to Wasps in the Guinness Premiership at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

The win saw Ian McGeechan's side round off three games in a week which have yielded 14 points and taken their winning run to eight on the bounce, lifting them to third place in the table.

England fly-half Danny Cipriani was pivotal in three of Wasps' five first-half tries in another remarkable display of his wide range of talent.

But in a frantic first 12 minutes that saw four tries it was Francisco Leonelli who put pink-clad Sarries ahead after a deft pass from Richard Haughton.

Wasps hooker Raphaël Ibañez replied from the restart as Joe Worsley disrupted Hugh Vyvyan's attempt to take Cipriani's kick-off and the Frenchman gathered the loose ball to barrel over.

And Wasps were in front two minutes later after an awful pass on his own line from Adam Powell went behind both Kevin Sorrell and Leonelli, who dithered over the bouncing ball to allow Tom Voyce to pounce.

The onslaught continued when Cipriani dummied Sorrell and glided through a hole before feeding Dominic Waldouck who raced home.

The next 10 minutes were positively barren in comparison, but Cipriani had the travelling support on their feet again on 21 minutes when he collected a poor Neil de Kock clearance, looked over to the right wing and lofted an inch-perfect kick for Paul Sackey to seal the bonus point.

Leonelli hit back with his second just after the half-hour mark but Wasps had a fifth on the stroke of half-time when Cipriani snaked outside Haughton to again offload to Waldouck for his second.

Eoin Reddan got in on the act after the break when he dummied Paul Gustard 40 metres out and raced home to take Wasps to the 40-point mark.

Leonelli kept faint Saracens hope alive with his hat-trick after 54 minutes, and after James Haskell was sent to the sin-bin just after coming on as a replacement the home side capitalised with a fourth score from Haughton.

Saracens captain De Kock hauled them even closer when he wriggled from a clutch of bodies to scamper over and had Glen Jackson not missed three out of his five conversion attempts plus an early penalty this would have been a much tighter affair.

But as it stands, Saracens go into their Heineken Cup semi-final against Munster with plenty to do.

The scorers:

For Saracens:

Tries: De Kock, Haughton, Leonelli 3

Cons: Jackson 2

For London Wasps:

Tries: Voyce, Ibañez, Waldouck 2, Reddan, Sackey

Cons: Cipriani 5

Yellow cards: Haskell (Wasps) - killing the ball, 57

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Richard Haughton, 14 Francisco Leonelli, 13 Kevin Sorrell, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Kameli Ratuvou, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Neil de Kock (c), 8 Ben Skirving, 7 Don Barrell, 6 Paul Gustard, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Hugh Vyvyan, 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Nick Lloyd.

Replacements: 16 Matt Cairns, 17 Cobus Visagie, 18 Iain Fullarton, 19 David Seymour, 20 Moses Rauluni, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Rodd Penney.

London Wasps: 15 Josh Lewsey, 14 Paul Sackey, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Lawrence Dallaglio (c), 7 Tom Rees, 6 Joe Worsley, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Simon Shaw, 3 Pat Barnard, 2 Raphaël Ibañez, 1 Tom French.

Replacements: 16 Joe Ward, 17 Tim Payne/Michael Holford, 18 George Skivington, 19 Dan Leo, 20 Mark McMillan, 21 Mark Van Gisbergen, 22 James Haskell.

Referee: Dave Pearson

Touch judges: Ken Stewart, Andy Watson

Assessor: Paul Bridgman

Television match official: John Burtenshaw

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