Planet Rugby

Saracens cut loose against Falcons

21st September 2008 17:16

Share:

Saracen leaves Falcon

MIchael Owen leaves Adam Balding in his wake as Saracens run riot

Saracens got their first win of the Guinness Premiership on Sunday, hammering Newcastle 44-14 in a one-sided affair that Eddie Jones' men led 44-0 with ten minutes to go before easing their foot off the gas.

The result serves to underline that Newcastle are going to struggle against relegation this season, and that with the glaring exception of Jonny Wilkinson, they are short of the necessary strength in depth that other clubs have. It may end up a tail-to-tail race between Bristol and Newcastle.

Fly-half Glen Jackson kicked 17 points with left-wing Kameli Ratuvou, Kevin Sorrell, Hugh Vyvyan, Rod Penney and Gordon Ross, who also converted the last one, running in second half tries to claim the bonus point, as Saracens claimed their long-overdue first win of the season.

Newcastle, heavily punished for their indiscipline, were reduced to 13 players midway through the second half when skipper Phil Dowson and back row colleague Ed Williamson were both yellow-carded within the space of a minute.

The influential Jackson contributed 17 of the Saracens points, with four penalties, a drop goal and a conversion - as well as outshining Jonny Wilkinson.

Coach Eddie Jones relied on the starting line-up sunk by a late Charlie Hodgson drop goal at Sale last weekend and his faith in the side which lost their opening two matches by three-point margins was amply rewarded.

Jackson kicked three penalties in the opening 21 minutes as Newcastle fell foul of referee Dean Richards at the breakdown.

The home side, appearing to actually be trying to play too much rugby, failed to produce the penetration to turn their superiority into tries in the first half.

However, Jackson stretched their lead to 15-0 with a pinpoint 30-metre drop goal and a fourth penalty with the last kick of the first-half.

The tries followed after the interval as the home pack, with England lock Steve Borthwick - installed as skipper by Jones - and Welsh international number eight Michael Owen helped the Saracens pack dominate the visitors on their first appearances for their new club at Vicarage Road.

Only a desperate diving tackle by Wilkinson, who had tried in vain to inspire outgunned Newcastle, denied Fijian left-wing Ratuvou a try following a 70-metre run to within stretching distance of the Falcons line.

But he only had to wait a minute before charging down a hesitant kick from Newcastle right-wing Tom May and diving over in the 45th minute.

Ratuvou was heavily involved again as Saracens struck again three minutes later with a superbly-worked try.

Jackson's exquisite crossfield kick found Ratuvou on the wing and he chipped the ball over centre Spencer Davey, collected and drew May and Wilkinson before passing inside to leave Sorrell a run to the line.

Sarries were on a roll and Dowson was despatched to the sin-bin for preventing them from recycling the ball.

Opting for a scrum instead of a penalty kick, the hosts were rewarded when Williamson committed an identical offence and followed his captain.

They again spurned the kick at goal to release Vyvyan, who powered over the line.

The bonus point was clinched in the 66th minute when Saracens produced their fourth touchdown in a devastating 21-minute spell.

Scrum-half Neil de Kock broke from inside his own 22, scythed through the depleted Newcastle midfield and headed for the touchline, committing May and Wilkinson to the tackle before returning the ball inside to lay on the try for right-wing Penney.

Scottish international Ross replaced Jackson at fly-half and rubbed salt into the already deep Newcastle wounds with the home side's fifth try, adding the conversion himself.

The visitors finally hit back with two late tries - but they were little more than a token response.

May's perseverance created an opening for Wilkinson to race in for his 75th-minute touchdown, which the World Cup winner converted.

Then the winger struck himself, with Wilkinson adding a cheeky trademark drop goal for the conversion.

However, this defeat leaves notorious bad travellers Newcastle - who achieved their first Premiership win of the season when they beat Northampton at home last weekend - still without a league win on their travels in 2008.

Head coach Steve Bates has to go back even further for his last win on the road.Bates, who took over from John Fletcher last season, has not tasted an away victory in charge since his former club Border Reivers beat Glasgow Warriors 20-8 at Firhill in the Celtic League in March 2006.

The scorers:

For Saracens:

Tries: Ratuvou, Sorrell, Vyvyan, Penney, Ross

Cons: Jackson, Ross

Pens: Jackson 4

Drop goal: Jackson

For Newcastle:

Tries: Wilkinson, May

Cons: Wilkinson 2

Yellow cards: Dowson 58, Williamson 59, both Newcastle

Saracens: 15 Richard Haughton, 14 Rodd Penney, 13 Kevin Sorrell, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Kameli Ratuvou, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Chris Jack, 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Fabio Ongaro,1 Matias Aguero.

Replacements: 16 Matt Cairns, 17 Cobus Visagie, 18 Kris Chesney, 19 Ben Skirving, 20 Moses Rauluni, 21 Gordon Ross, 22 Chris Wyles.

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Tom May, 13 Jamie Noon, 12 Spencer Davey, 11 John Rudd, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 James Grindal, 8 Phil Dowson (c), 7 Ed Williamson, 6 Adam Balding, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Andy Perry, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Andy Long, 1 Micky Ward.

Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Jon Golding, 18 Tim Swinson, 19 Andy Buist, 20 Hall Charlton, 21 Ollie Phillips, 22 Rory Clegg.

Referee: Dean Richards

Touch judges: Andrew Pearce, Bob Mullis

Television match official: John Burtenshaw

Assessor: Tony Spreadbury

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne vs MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle vs Toulouse14:45
Castres vs BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Preview
Lyon vs Brive18:30
Grenoble vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Oyonnax vs Stade Francais18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , August 29
Pumas vs SharksPumas vs Sharks Preview
Saturday , August 30
Griquas vs Cheetahs15:00
Blue Bulls vs Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Preview
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau vs Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Preview
Southland vs Otago17:35
North Harbour vs Waikato19:35
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Friday , August 29
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Blue Bulls 30 - 25 Eastern Province KingsBlue Bulls vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Western Province 27 - 14 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
Sharks 19 - 16 CheetahsSharks vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Northland 35 - 5 WellingtonNorthland vs Wellington Report
Counties Manukau 29 - 25 OtagoCounties Manukau vs Otago Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 22
Toulouse 35 - 6 CastresToulouse vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 33 - 15 GriquasPumas vs Griquas Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 27 - 58 CanterburyWaikato vs Canterbury Report
Hawkes Bay 29 - 26 TaranakiHawkes Bay vs Taranaki Report
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour 21 - 25 Southland
Sunday , August 17
Tasman 35 - 15 Hawkes BayTasman vs Hawkes Bay Report
Northland 23 - 28 Manawatu
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00