Rugby UnIon: Lynagh puts boot into Richmond

Saracens 15 Richmond 9

There was a good deal of misinformation flying around at Vicarage Road last night. Richmond changed a third of their side at the last minute, while Saracens were welcomed by an embarrassingly hyperactive public address announcer as the "hometown heroes", despite the fact that they were a north London club playing in deepest Hertfordshire.

There was also some confusion as to whether the match was open to the paying customer: Sarries could probably have accommodated those few who turned up at their old Tumbledown tip at Southgate and saved themselves the hassle of shifting heart and soul to Watford.

But rugby's playing standard are in far better shape than the game's fragile economy and even though much of the expertise on view was non- English, it was still a singular pleasure to watch Michael Lynagh and Philippe Sella rustle around in their bag of tricks for new ways of selling opposition midfields down the river.

Lynagh's pinpoint tactical kicking rekindled memories of many a Wallaby glory day, while Sella's passing under pressure gave Sarries' southern hemisphere wings, Ryan Constable and Brendon Daniel, early glimpses of the line.

With Francois Pienaar and Paddy Johns also producing something approaching Test form, the home side, if they could be so described, dominated the territorial argument so effortlessly that they should have been out of sight by the break.

As it was, they reached the interval no better than all square, Lynagh's brace of penalties shadowed by similar efforts from his opposite number, Adrian Davies.

Richmond had the mean defensive skills of Rolando Martin and Scott Quinnell to thank for their half-time equality, although Quinnell went a step too far with a murderous hit on Brad Free and was shown the yellow card by Brian Campsall.

Saracens were equally in the ascendant from the restart and an imaginative angled run and kick ahead from Matt Singer almost brought a try. Only Jason Wright's alert intervention from the backwater of Richmond's right wing saved the day.

It was skin of the teeth stuff from the visitors, but they flatly refused to crumble under the incessant pressure. Lynagh opened up a three-point gap with a third penalty on 58 minutes, only to see his countryman, the former Australian full-back Matthew Pini, level it once more with a pearl of a drop goal from the right touchline.

It was only in the final 10 minutes that Lynagh was able to create some distance with two further penalties, one a fine left-sided effort and the other a gimme from in front of the posts after Campsall spotted John Davies dragging down a maul.

Even then, Richmond might have snatched it at the death. Richard Hill produced some superlative stonewall defence to deny Quinnell in dangerous territory beneath the Saracens posts and when Earl Va'a, the visitors' substitute outside-half, put Spencer Brown away in injury time, Lynagh was forced to scuttle across field to make the vital try-saving tackle.

Saracens: Penalties Lynagh 5. Richmond: Penalties A Davies 2; Dropped goal: Pini.

Saracens: M Singer; B Daniel, P Sella, S Ravenscroft, R Constable (G Johnson, 33); M Lynagh, B Free; B Reidy (A Olver, 66), G Botterman (G Chuter, 66), P Wallace, P Johns, D Grewcock (A Copsey, 66), F Pienaar, A Diprose (capt), R Hill.

Richmond: M Pini; J Wright, A Bateman, S Cottrell, S Brown; A Davies (E Va'a, 74), A Moore; D Crompton (D McFarland, 53), A Cuthbert, J Davies, C Quinnell, C Gillies, B Clarke (capt), S Quinnell, R Martin (A Vander, 72).

Referee: B Campsall (Yorkshire).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Workshop Deputy & Production Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A rare and exciting role has arisen within thi...

Recruitment Genius: HR Assistant

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a keen...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, this multi-ac...

Recruitment Genius: SEO Specialist

£21000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an e...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat