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Match Report: Saracens 38-15 Gloucester Rugby

23 Sep 2018
Match Report: Saracens 38-15 Gloucester Rugby

Maro Itoje grabbed a brace as Saracens ended Gloucester Rugby’s unbeaten start to the Gallagher Premiership with a bonus-point victory at Allianz Park.

The Men in Black made it four wins from four as they ran in five tries against the visitors, who had won two and drawn one of their previous three games coming into the match.

David Strettle opened the scoring for Saracens after six minutes, before England international Itoje touched down twice, with Sean Maitland and Alex Lozowski also on the scoresheet.

Owen Farrell also added 13 points with the boot to wrap up a comfortable win for the hosts on the day Richard Wigglesworth became the record Premiership appearance-maker.

Gloucester did claim late consolation tries through Mark Atkinson and Charlie Sharples, but it was too little, too late as the West Country side were comprehensively outplayed.

Wigglesworth was not the only player celebrating a milestone as Jamie George made his 200th appearance for Saracens, who made five changes to the side that beat Northampton last time out, including Farrell’s return and a first start of the season for second row George Kruis.

And the champions came out of the traps quickly when Farrell opened the scoring with a penalty, before Maitland broke free and put Strettle into space as the winger crossed in the corner.

Itoje then took advantage of a favourable bounce from a high Farrell kick for his first try just before the half hour, with Billy Twelvetrees responding with Gloucester’s first points from the tee.

Gloucester suffered further blows when they lost Ruan Ackermann and Lewis Ludlow and Saracens took advantage from the restart as Itoje benefitted from a powerful drive from the Wolfpack.

Another Farrell conversion made it 24-3 at the break and it was not long before the hosts sealed the bonus-point in the second half, with Wigglesworth playing a key role on his landmark occasion.

Saracens were relentless as they went through the phases before the scrum-half tried to snipe his way over the line. He came up just short, but Maitland found space to score his side’s fourth.

Liam Williams then went on one of his trademark runs before jinking inside and setting up Lozowski for a straightforward score, with Farrell stretching Saracens’ lead to 36-3.

Gloucester refused to give up, though, and responded late on when Atkinson sold the Saracens defence with a dummy and touched down to narrow the deficit.

Sharples rounded off the scoring in the final minute, racing across the whitewash after being put into space with a quick move from the backline, with Twelvetrees converting with the last kick.

But despite a late flourish, Saracens have now won their past 11 Premiership matches dating back to March of last season, scoring four or more tries in each of their past 10.

The defending Premiership champions are one point above last season’s beaten finalists Exeter at the top of the table, while Gloucester remain fifth after their first defeat.

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