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
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: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower