Planet Rugby

Saracens remain unbeaten

25th October 2009 16:51

Share:

Kameli Ratuvou double saracens v Leeds

Double strike: Kameli Ratuvou

Two tries from centre Kameli Ratuvou helped Saracens maintain their unbeaten record in the Guinness Premiership as they beat Leeds 21-15 at Vicarage Road on Sunday.

Sarries move back to the top of the Premiership standings thanks to their sixth win from as many starts in domestic competition this season.

A late drop goal from fly-half Ceiron Thomas saved a bonus point for Leeds.

Fiji centre Ratuvou scored tries either side of half-time in a scrappy game punctuated by 27 penalties from fussy official David Rose.

Leeds replied with four penalties and a drop-goal from Thomas, but rarely threatened the Saracens line.

Saracens had Leeds on the back foot from the kick-off, twice forcing desperate defence by the visitors close to their line and they had an early let-off when Glen Jackson screwed a fourth-minute penalty wide following a scrum offence.

Jackson made amends inside two minutes, chipping home his second penalty from 25 yards after Leeds were adjudged offside, but little technical errors suggested the hosts were not into their stride as Leeds snapped at heels and harried ball-carriers into mistakes.

So it was no surprise when referee Rose penalised Saracens in the 17th minute for taking down a scrum. Thomas equalised with a fine kick from wide out on the left.

Within three minutes, Saracens targeted wing Lee Blackett for the second time and he again blundered, presenting Jackson with the opportunity to restore his team's three-point lead, only for Thomas to level matters again with a goal in the 25th minute.

Saracens scrum-half Justin Marshall made way for Neil de Kock in the 27th minute, limping out of the action favouring his left leg.

Thomas was sin-binned for Leeds in the 33rd minute after deliberately handling in a ruck to deny Saracens a try-scoring opportunity. When play switched across the line - Jackson arrowing out a fine long pass - Noah Cato looked like scoring in the right-hand corner but Seru Rabeni's excellent tackle forced a knock-on.

At this stage it was difficult to believe that Saracens were seeking to preserve a 100% Guinness Premiership record and return to the top of the table.

Saracens finally broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time. Leeds full-back Leigh Hinton scorned the chances to kick possession dead with time over and cost his team a try.

Schalk Brits broke through the middle, and when Jackson passed left to Ratuvou he dummied to pass on to Chris Wyles before smashing through Richard Welding's tackle to score. Jackson's conversion was wide.

Leeds reduced the deficit to two points when Thomas kicked his third successful penalty two minutes after the break only for Saracens to score their second try off a twice-taken penalty.

Referee Rose decided Leeds were not 10 yards back when Jackson made his first tap and go, and when Saracens won the resultant line-out, three passes armed Ratuvou to crash through the defence on the left of the posts, Jackson converting.

Another Thomas penalty kept Leeds in touch, but his first miss, on the hour, was a lost opportunity to reward a period of pressure on their hosts.

The Scorers

For Saracens:
Tries:
Ratuvou 2
Con:Jackson
Pens:Jackson 2, Hougaard

For Leeds:
Pens:Thomas 4
Drop: Thomas

Yellow card:Thomas (Leeds - 33rd min)

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Justin Marshall, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Wikus van Heerden, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick(c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Richard Skuse, 19 Hugh Vyvyan, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Derick Hougaard, 23 Michael Tagicakibau.

Leeds:15 Leigh Hinton, 14 Richard Welding, 13 Seru Rabeni, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Lee Blackett, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 8 Alfie To'oala, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Phil Murphy, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Phil Nisen, 1 Tommy McGee.
Replacements:16 Vili Ma'asi, 17 Gareth Hardy, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Erik Lund, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Henry Paul, 23 Henry Fa'afili.

Venue: Vicarage Road

Referee: David Rose

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821