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Match Reaction: Saracens 30 Wasps 14

Maro Itoje carries against Wasps

Dai Young conceded that Wasps had failed to deal with Saracens’ ‘legendary’ line speed after falling to a 30-14 loss at Allianz Park.

Saracens’ win saw them move top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, but it had been a nip and tuck affair until Jamie George scored the first of his two tries.

Danny Cipriani had lit up the game with a fine break to send Josh Bassett over to cancel out Mako Vunipola’s early try before Mike Ellery crossed on 40 minutes to give Saracens a 13-8 lead at the break.

Jimmy Gopperth’s boot kept Wasps in touch, but George’s two tries sealed the bonus point as Saracens turned up at their ruthless best in the second period.

And Wasps director of rugby Young was happy to admit his side were beaten by the better side after watching his charges give up this season’s only unbeaten Aviva Premiership Rugby record ahead of a European Rugby Champions Cup opener against Zebre.

“To be honest, I think the best team won – we probably lost the battle with and without the ball,” former Wales and British & Irish Lions prop Young said.

“It’s no surprise to us, we knew what was coming with their legendary line speed but we didn’t get the penetration from our ball carriers which we’ve had up until today.

“Then you’re having slow ball, because we’re not going forward and not getting the penetration with the ball in hand, the breakdown becomes slow and so you’re playing off slow ball rather than quick ball.

“I don’t think we were allowed to play; you’ve got to give them a lot of credit and they really strangled us but we should have been more direct in the first half.

“We are still a team that is developing, it is not doom and gloom; it’s the first game we’ve lost and if you’re going to lose to anybody it would be the champions.”

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall hailed forwards coach Alex Sanderson for marshalling the defence since Paul Gustard departed for England.

With Saracens gearing up to take on Toulon at the Stade Mayol – where they have never lost in the Champions Cup – McCall was pleased with the way his side controlled such a high-quality side.

“It’s obviously a great result to come away with the five points against a quality side,” McCall said.

“Our defence has been good all season so we’ve got to give a huge amount of credit to Alex Sanderson; we’ve only conceded four tries this season which is a great record.

“We controlled them for 35 minutes, defensively we made a mistake and they scored a try. Our set piece is in good shape but our tackling needs to get a bit better.

“We put them under great pressure and put them in lots of difficult situations but we didn’t always capitalise.

“We didn’t always sustain the pressure in the first half because of our discipline; we gave away far too many penalties which were very soft and some individual attacking errors.

“There were signs of improvement in the second half, and if we can put that second half performance together for a full 80 minutes then that will be crucial.”

 

Saracens: Maitland; Ellery (Gallagher, 67), Bosch, Barritt (Tompkins, 75), Wyles; Lozowski, Wigglesworth (Spencer, 70); M Vunipola (Lamositele, 75), Brits (George, 50), Figallo (du Plessis, 57), Itoje (Hamilton, 75), Kruis, Rhodes (Wray, 51), Burger, B Vunipola

Wasps: Miller (Eastmond, 56); Wade (Halai, 70), Daly, Gopperth, Bassett; Cipriani, Robson (Simpson, 41); McIntyre (Mullan, 54), Cruse, Moore (Cooper-Woolley, 54), Symons (Gaskell, 60), Myall (Launchbury, 38), Johnson (Rieder, 60), Young, Hughes

 

Saracens

Tries: M Vunipola, Ellery, George 2

Conversions: Lozowski, Spencer

Penalties: Lozowski 2

 

Wasps

Tries: Bassett

Penalties: Gopperth 3

 

Referee: Matthew Carley

Attendance: 9,911

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