Planet Rugby

Sarries smash woeful Gloucester

04th January 2014 15:48

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david strettle scores for saracens against gloucester

Try time: David Strettle

Saracens retained top spot in the Premiership thanks to a thumping 29-8 victory over lacklustre Gloucester at Kingsholm on Saturday.

Boosted by the return of England international, Brad Barritt, making his first start in four months, the visitors produced a complete performance in both attack and defence to record their biggest ever win in the West Country.

Gloucester missed a number of tackles throughout the first-half, and the game was pretty much all over at the break as the teams went in with the score at 3-19. The only down side for Saracens was the fact they were unable to get a bonus point, as the second-half rather petered out.

Saracens started the brighter of the two sides, and took the initiative only four minutes in. Gloucester scrum-half, Jimmy Cowan, was penalised for obstruction close to his own try-line and was shown a yellow card for his troubles. Owen Farrell then stepped up to make it 0-3.

Sarries capitalised on their numerical advantage in the ninth minute when a breakaway from a driving maul resulted in Neil de Kock going over to make it 0-8.

The visitors continued to dominate throughout the half, without having to get out of second gear. A swift attacking move ended with a Schalk Britz pop-pass to David Strettle, which saw the in-form winger go over. Farrell had scored penalties either side of the try to leave the league leaders 19 points to the good.

Gloucester skipper, Billy Twelvetress, continued his fine form with the boot to make it 3-19 on the stroke of half-time, but it was the only positive note in a poor first-half for the hosts.

Gloucester would have been expected to come out firing second-half and restore some pride to the fans who had braved the rainy conditions. This proved not to be the case, though, as just after half-time England full-back, Alex Goode went over after a flowing move to make it 3-26 to the dominant visitors.

The Cherry and Whites were given cause for optimism just before the hour-mark, though. In a mad couple of minutes, Saracens were reduced to 13 men after Billy Vunipola and captain, Steve Borthwick, were put in the sin-bin for respective cynical fouls. At that point Gloucester had Saracens pinned back deep inside their own 22, yet they failed to make the most of their numerical advantage, and Saracens broke clear and recorded another three points after another Farrell penalty.

Gloucester flanker, Matt Cox, did bundle over later to make it 8-29, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation as Saracens saw the rest of the contest out comfortably.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Try: Cox
Pen: Twelvetrees
Yellow Card: Cowan

For Saracens:
Tries: De Kock, Strettle, Goode
Con: Farrell
Pens: Farrell 4
Yellow Cards: Vunipola, Borthwick

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Matt Cox, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Shane Monahan, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick, 3 James Johnston, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Chris Wyles.

Referee: Luke Pearce (Eng)

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