Alistair Hargreaves scored Saracens’ sole try and Charlie Hodgson kicked 21 points as they ended London Wasps’ two-game winning streak in the Aviva Premiership with a 29-24 victory.
Hargreaves charged down a Charlie Davies kick in the 27th minute while Hodgson slotted seven penalties in total, four after the break, as Sarries ran out winners at Vicarage Road.
Wasps led through Tom Varndell’s early try, his seventh in the Aviva Premiership this season, and were given hope at the death when Davies made amends for his earlier mistake with a score.
But Saracens held on to record the win and pull level on points with Harlequins at the top of the Aviva Premiership however Davies’ try was significant as it gave Wasps a losing bonus point.
Sarries were the first team to score after a snaking run from David Strettle in the third minute garnered an opportunity for fly-half Hodgson to slot an easy penalty.
However Wasps immediately hit back on the counter as Christian Wade found Hugo Southwell who broke before feeding Varndell clear on the right for the first try of the match.
Nicky Robinson couldn’t convert and failed with a second kick in the 14th minute, this time a penalty after Joel Tomkins was caught on the wrong side of the tackle.
But, while he struggled from the tee early on, out of the hand luck was on Robinson’s side and he just about sent a drop goal over in the 19th minute after Wasps pressed the Saracens line.
However Hodgson kept Saracens close with a successful penalty moments later and edged them ahead with another after James Haskell was adjudged to be off his feet at the breakdown.
And with just over ten minutes to go before half-time, Saracens grabbed their first try as Hargreaves charged down Davies’ kick and chased hard to score.
The 26-year-old lock appeared to hurt himself in doing so and was temporarily replaced by George Kruis as Hodgson failed to convert with the score at 14-8.
Wasps had a chance to reduce the deficit in the 33rd minute when Kelly Brown was caught offside but Elliot Daly sent the long-range penalty crashing against the post.
However three minutes before the break Robinson made no mistake with another Wasps penalty comfortably kicking three points after Schalk Brits failed to release.
Ecstasy then turned into agony for Hargreaves as he was given a yellow card for going in at the side and Robinson slotted the resulting penalty off the left post to level the scores at 14-14.
It didn’t take long for Saracens to retake the lead after the break with Nils Mordt kicking a penalty two minutes in while Hodgson was off after a clash of heads with Davies.
But, with a minute to go before Hargreaves came out of the sin bin, Robinson kicked his third penalty right in front of the posts after a period of Wasps pressure.
A lengthy delay ensued in the 65th minute after Hargreaves, not long back on the pitch, came off worse in a collision with Haskell and left on a stretcher but was later seen sitting up fine.
Haskell was penalised and Hodgson kicked three more points before repeating the trick twice more as the game began to get away from Wasps with Saracens leading 26-17.
Replacement Tom Bell missed a penalty for Wasps as the last ten minutes approached with Hodgson showing him how it’s done moments later, easily slotting his seventh of the afternoon.
Davies then scored Wasps’ second try with less than three minutes remaining and Bell converted but it was too little too late.