Planet Rugby

Hodgson guides Sarries to victory

07th October 2012 16:13

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Phil McKenzie London Welsh v Saracens AVP 2012

Charlie Hodgson tries to stop Phil MacKenzie

Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson was his team's hero as he notched all their points in their 28-23 win over London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday.

Hodgson scored a try, conversion and four penalties in the first half while Henson was also impressive with the boot, kicking eight points in the opening period to go alongside Phil Mackenzie's early touchdown.

The visiting stand-off kicked two further three-pointers after the interval before the hosts fought back through a Henson penalty and Tom Arscott's try, but Hodgson sealed the win late on.

Welsh have so far defied the critics who have insisted they were set for an imminent return to the Championship.

Instead, two well-deserved victories, including one away at Sale, have seen the Oxford-based outfit start the season in fine style.

But in the 2011 Premiership champions, they faced yet another difficult challenge and the hosts found themselves down to 14 men after Jon Mills was sin-binned.

It didn't seem to affect them, however, as they took the lead after seven minutes when Mackenzie capitalised on a loose pass from Hodgson.

The winger then kicked through and collected for an easy score under the posts, handing Henson a simple conversion for his first points in Welsh colours.

Sarries' response was immediate when Hodgson kicked a penalty before the same player touched down for a converted try.

The respective stand-offs traded three-pointers to the take the encounter to 13-10 in the visitors' favour, but that lead was extended by their former England international who added two more from the tee.

Henson reduced the arrears to 19-13 at the break, but it was Saracens who looked the most dangerous.

Hodgson continued where he left off and added successive penalties in the second period to take their advantage out to 12 points.

However, the home side's number 10 immediately responded with one of his own and then helped instigate a superb try which was finished off by Arscott.

Hodgson kicked a final three-pointer to confirm the win despite a late onslaught from the hosts.

For London Welsh:
Tries: MacKenzie, Arscott
Cons: Henson 2
Pens: Henson 3

For Saracens:
Try: Hodgson
Con: Hodgson 4
Pens: Hodgson 7

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil MacKenzie, 13 James Lewis, 12 Hudson Tonga'uiha, 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gavin Henson, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 Mike Denbee, 6 Daniel Browne, 5 Matt Corker, 4 Jonathan Mills (capt), 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Dan George, 1 Frank Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 Arthur Joly, 19 Kirill Kulemin, Alfie To'oala, 21 Nick Runciman, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Seb Jewell.

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 David Strettle, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Will Fraser, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Nick Fenton-Wells, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Kameli Ratuvou, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Referee: Luke Pearce

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