Planet Rugby

Sarries' run continues

04th October 2009 17:00

Share:

Gopperth on Hougaard

Import on import: Derick Hougaard gets to grips with Jimmy Gopperth

Saracens made it five from five on Sunday to stand alone at the top of the Guinness Premiership with a 22-15 win at Newcastle.

An interception try from right wing Richard Haughton plus a try, two conversions and a penalty from fly-half Derick Hougaard gave Brendan Venter's side a 17-15 half-time lead, with left wing Chris Wyles crossing late on to seal the win.

Newcastle's points came courtesy of five penalties from the boot of fly-half Jimmy Gopperth during a pulsating first half but they were unable to make the most of the chances they created and they remain winless this season.

The Falcons were once again without captain Carl Hayman as the New Zealand prop continues to be troubled by the hamstring injury he suffered in their defeat at Leicester, while Ed Williamson returned on the blindside flank after recovering from a bout of gastroenteritis.

Saracens were led by South African flanker Wikus van Heerden in the absence of England captain Steve Borthwick, ruled out by the eye injury he suffered in the win over Gloucester.

Tom Ryder came into the second row while Schalk Brits started at hooker after Fabio Ongaro was ruled out by injury and Hougaard was preferred to Glen Jackson at fly-half.

Newcastle's bid for their first win of the season, having drawn three of their first four games, got off to the worst possible start as scrum-half Micky Young's pass was picked off by Haughton, making his first start of the season, who strolled under the posts from 30 metres to give Hougaard the simplest of conversions after only five minutes.

Fly-half Gopperth immediately got the Falcons on the board with two penalties after some enterprising attacking play, Hougaard replying with a penalty of his own to put Sarries 10-6 up.

Newcastle sought to keep the ball in hand and deny the visitors the chance to employ the effective kicking game that had seen them make an unbeaten start to the season, and it proved effective as Saracens continued to give away a stream of penalties, Gopperth gratefully landing another three kicks to give the hosts the lead for the first time.

It took Saracens until the 33rd minute to produce a string of attacking phases after a set move allowed van Heerden to make good yards in midfield. The ball was recycled quickly only for wing Chris Wyles to drop the ball with the line at his mercy.

But the Falcons were unable to clear from the resulting scrum and Hougaard dummied his way over wide out for a converted try, giving the Vicarage Road side a 17-15 lead at the break.

Newcastle made a purposeful start to the second half, with Gopperth pulling the strings, but could not make their spell of pressure count and were particularly wasteful in failing to use a three-man overlap on the narrow side.

Hougaard missed with two long-range drop-goal attempts but the visitors began to grind their opponents down as the excellent tactical kicking of half-backs Neil de Kock and Hougaard helped them gain a stranglehold on field position, with centre Brad Barritt and number eight Ernst Joubert making several telling carries.

Jackson replaced Hougaard for the final 15 minutes and was wide with his own drop goal effort and a penalty but, with the visitors enjoying territorial dominance, Newcastle never looked likely to launch a late attack to steal the points.

Saracens' dominance finally told when, having spent a prolonged period of the game in the Newcastle 22, Fijian centre Kameli Ratuvou got his hands out of an attempted tackle to allow Wyles to cross with four minutes to play and atone for his earlier error.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Pens: Gopperth 5

For Saracens:
Tries: Haughton, Hougaard, Wyles
Cons: Hougaard 2
Pen: Hougaard

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Rob Vickerman, 12 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 11 Tom Biggs, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Micky Young, 8 Filipo Levi, 7 Brent Wilson, 6 Ed Williamson, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 James Hudson, 3 Carl Hayman (captain), 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Jon Golding.
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Micky Ward, 18 Laurence Ovens, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Adam Balding, 21 Hall Charlton, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Gcobani Bobo.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Justin Melck, 6 Wikus van Heerden(c), 5 Hugh Vyvyan, 4 Tom Ryder, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Richard Skuse, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Michael Owen, 21 Kevin Barrett, 22 Glen Jackson, 23 Michael Horak.

Referee: Sean Davey

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs Exeter19:45
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs Zebre19:30
Cardiff Blues vs Ulster19:35
Connacht vs Leinster19:35
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs Edinburgh16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs Toulon18:00
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse18:00
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:00
Castres vs Oyonnax18:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:00
Montpellier vs Stade Francais18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs Pumas19:10
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 17
Southland vs TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Preview
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Benetton Treviso 10 - 21 MunsterBenetton Treviso vs Munster Report
Newport Gwent D'gons 15 - 17 Ospreys
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26