Planet Rugby

Saracens respond at Headingley

29th January 2010 21:36

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Justin Marshall

Old stomping ground: Marshall

Justin Marshall crossed at his former club Leeds as Saracens coasted to a 28-5 LV= Cup victory on Friday.

Brendan Venter's men established a 14-0 lead midway through the first half after well-executed scores from number eight Ernst Joubert and their outstanding hooker Schalk Brits.

It was the least Sarries deserved and their third score arrived shortly after the half-hour mark when Adam Powell finished off another fine move.

But the real sickener for home fans came in the 50th minute when New Zealand legend Marshall, who failed to shine during an ill-fated spell Leeds in 2005-06, finished off a delightful sweeping move with Saracens' fourth try.

Leeds - rock-bottom of the Guinness Premiership - simply could not cope with the pace and quality of the visitors' attacks and barely escaped their own half in the opening 40 minutes.

The result was another damaging blow to the Yorkshiremen's morale after they were outclassed by French side Bourgoin in last weekend's Amlin Challenge Cup encounter.

To their credit Leeds refused to buckle and kept plugging away but Saracens were in complete control throughout.

They led in the 17th minute when a neat handling sequence saw the ball pass through four pairs of hands and culminated in Wikus Van Heerden ushering Joubert over the line.

Five minutes later Saracens had their second try when Brits recovered from an earlier knock to collect Moses Rauluni's offload on the blindside and touch down.

Leeds showed nothing as a creative force for much of the first half and their defensive frailties were again brutally exposed in the 31st minute when Powell touched down in the left corner after good work from Brits and Rodd Penney to keep the ball alive.

Fly-half Derick Hougaard added his third conversion and Saracens were 21-0 ahead and the match as a contest was effectively over.

Leeds pushed hard to claw themselves back into the game as half-time approached but despite a couple of promising moves they could not score.

Former All Black Marshall, on as a replacement, added a fourth try for the visitors 10 minutes after the restart when Michael Tagicakibau broke down the left flank.

He left a trail of Leeds defenders his wake and some slick handling infield from Jacques Berger and Chris Wyles gave Marshall the easiest of scores.

Hougaard added his fourth conversion but Leeds had the final say when wing Peter Wackett went over in the right corner only for Joe Ford's conversion to rebound off a post.

The scorers:

For Leeds:
Tries: Wackett

For Saracens:
Tries: Joubert, Brits, Powell, Marshall
Con: Hougaard 3, Jackson

Leeds: 15 Jon Goodridge, 14 Peter Wackett, 13 Henry Fa'afili, 12 Henry Paul, 11 Scott Armstrong, 10 Joe Ford, 9 Joe Bedford, 8 Rhys Oakley, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Jon Pendlebury (c), 5 Phil Murphy, 4 Tom Denton, 3 Peter Bucknall, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Gareth Hardy.
Replacements: 16 Phil Nilsen, 17 Alex Moreno, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Erik Lund, 20 Kearnan Myall, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Jason Strange, 23 Scott Barrow.

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Rodd Penney, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Michael Tagicakibau, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Moses Rauluni, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Wikus van Heerden (c), 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Hugh Vyvyan, 3 Richard Skuse, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Kas Lealamanua.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Justin Marshall, 22 Glen Jackson, 23 James Short.

Referee: Rob Debney

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