Rugby Union: Neath flat-footed as Wallace cuts loose

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The Independent Online
Saracens 69

Neath 30

Not so long ago Saracens would have been hard pressed to lace Neath's boots. Talk about it being on the other foot. It took them a while to get into their stride yesterday but Saracens, one of the favourites for the European Conference, scored 47 points in the second half to maintain a 100 per cent record.

Nowhere is the surreal impression of the modern game more vivid than at Vicarage Road, home of Watford FC. The place sounds like a disco and at times looks it, with frequent appearances by Saracens' dancing troupe, the Crown Jewels.

Neath have lost their crown jewels, with more than 30 international players leaving the club over recent years. Their Conference season was virtually over before it began and in three games they have now conceded 155 points. They have not won any match this season.

With Lyn Jones rejoining the coaching staff (he conducted his first training session two days ago and described it as a shambles), the shadow Welsh All Blacks performed admirably in the first half, at the end of which they trailed 22-20, full back Darren Case scoring all their points.

However, Saracens proceeded to cut loose, scoring seven tries after the interval, three of them from the Irish international wing Richard Wallace. A crowd of 2,300 watched the Londoners make mayhem in the sun. Despite the fact that it felt more like blazing June than September, the pitch cut up badly, necessitating the need for ground staff to replace divots.

It makes one wonder what Vicarage Road will look like when winter gets its skates on.

Saracens: Tries Wallace (3), Sorrell (2), Constable (2), Sturnham, Chesney, Olsen; Conversions: Lynagh (8); Penalty: Lynagh.

Neath: Tries: Case (2), Dervergie; Conversions: Case (3); Penalties: Case (3).

Replacements: Neath: C Bridges for Daniel Hawkins 52 mins. F Lanreau for Newman 57. J Young for Williams 68. M Thomas for Kembury 70.

Saracens: M Singer; R Wallace, R Constable, K Sorrell, K Chesney; M Lynagh, M Olsen; B Reidy, G Botterman, A Olver, P Johns, D Grewcock, B Sturnham, T Diprose (Capt), F Pienaar.

Neath: D Case; A Palfrey, David Hawkins, R Jones, P Williams; G Evans (capt), Daniel Hawkins; D Morris, M Davies, B Evans, S Rees, K Dervergie, A Kembury, S Martin, G Newman. Referee: I Ramage (Scotland).