Planet Rugby

Saracens gathering momentum

01st October 2008 21:56

Share:

Glen Jackson penalty v bristol

Putting the boot in: Saracens' Glen Jackson notches another three points

Glen Jackson's boot helped Saracens to their third successive win and fifth place in the Guinness Premiership on Wednesday with a 23-16 win over Bristol that leaves the West countrymen bottom of the table with five defeats from five.

The prolific points-scorer kicked five penalties and a drop-goal to leave Bristol still without a Premiership win since March.

They have collected just two losing bonus points, and look destined for a seven-month struggle to avoid the drop into National League One.

While Jackson missed one kick all night - the conversion of wing Kameli Ratuvou's first-half try - Bristol proved a shambles in that department.

Fly-half Adrian Jarvis missed three penalties in a row - and when he was eventually taken off 16 minutes from time, his replacement Ed Barnes slotted two successful kicks after an initial failure.

Wing David Lemi's third Premiership try of the campaign was scant consolation for a Bristol side high on endeavour,] but lacking pace, penetration and fluency.

If anything, Saracens made hard work of it; yet in New Zealander Jackson, they possessed a player comfortable with the role of successfully steering his team through awkward away games.

Bristol have now lost 10 Premiership matches on the bounce, and the last time they started a campaign with five defeats - in 2002/2003 - relegation was the end product.

Jarvis returned for Bristol after missing the 17-3 defeat at Newcastle last Friday, while Saracens were without their ex-All Blacks forward Chris Jack because of a shoulder injury.

Jack was replaced in the back row by Ben Skirving as Saracens targeted a third successive Premiership victory, after posting 70 points and seven tries in wins against Newcastle and Northampton.

Bristol, though, were in no mood to let Saracens settle as they targeted a priceless win before a six-week break from Premiership action.

Wing Tom Arscott proved an early threat, yet Bristol lacked confidence when it came to maximising some promising attacking positions.

Saracens were content to absorb the anticipated opening-quarter onslaught - and they duly ended it in front by posting a superbly-crafted try.

Number eight Michael Owen ensured quick ball to Jackson, who linked neatly with centre Adam Powell and sent Ratuvou powering over.

Jackson failed to convert. But the score threw down a challenge to Bristol, whose response belied a team struggling for form and points.

Sustained pressure inside Saracens' 22 saw a patient home side reap its reward when Lemi pounced.

Jarvis added the extras, and then slotted a 28th-minute penalty that opened up a five-point advantage - before Saracens stole a narrow interval advantage through two Jackson penalties.

But Saracens should have been more than one point ahead, and could only kick themselves when lock Hugh Vyvyan spilled possession - with the Bristol line at his mercy following a 40-metre break by Ratuvou.

Saracens boss Eddie Jones was forced into a half-time switch, sending on Moses Rauluni for full-back Richard Haughton - and Jackson quickly completed his penalty hat-trick.

Bristol had to keep themselves in touch but they were not helped by Jarvis missing two straightforward penalties either side of the break.

When he then drifted a 52nd-minute shot wide as well, his confidence appeared drained to such an extent that Bristol captain Joe El Abd had to consider changing the kicker.

Jackson continued to show Jarvis exactly how it should be done, slotting his fourth penalty after 54 minutes and presenting Bristol with an increasingly-demanding uphill struggle.

Barnes narrowed the gap to seven points with a penalty from in front of the posts when Skirving was sin-binned, but Saracens knew all they had to do was play the territory game - even with one player short.

A second Barnes penalty at least gave Bristol a bonus point, but there was precious little to cheer for a crowd that only just topped the 7,000 mark.

The scorers:

For Bristol:

Try: Lemi

Con: Jarvis

Pens: Jarvis, Barnes 2

For Saracens:

Try: Ratuvou

Pens: Jackson 5

Drop goal: Jackson

Yellow card: Skirving (Saracens, 68)

Bristol: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Tom Arscott, 13 Neil Brew, 12 Ed Barnes, 11 David Lemi, 10 Adrian Jarvis, 9 Graeme Beveridge, 8 Dan Ward-Smith, 7 Joe El Abd (c), 6 Alfie To'oala, 5 Nathan Budgett, 4 Mariano Sambucetti, 3 Jason Hobson, 2 Scott Linklater, 1 Alex Clarke.

Replacements: 16 David Blaney, 17 Peter Bracken, 18 Robert Sidoli, 19 Andrew Blowers, 20 Haydn Thomas, 21 Luke Eves, 22 Greg Barden.

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 Ben Skirving, 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Cencus Johnston, 2 Fabio Ongaro, 1 Matias Aguero.

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

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Touch judges: Paul Dix, Bob Mullis

Assessor: Ed Morrison

Television match official: Laurie Bryant

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Preview
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs Lions17:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs Tasman19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615