Rugby Union: Pienaar leads rout

Click to follow
THE SARACENS director of rugby, Mark Evans, admitted their surprise defeat by Harlequins had affected his side before they coasted to a 52- 3 victory at Premiership strugglers West Hartlepool last night.

"We were a little bit anxious, we didn't want to make any mistakes after last Saturday," said Evans. "But this was a very, very important win for us. That was probably some of the best rugby we have played this season."

Francois Pienaar led the recovery operation as Saracens shrugged off their defeat by Harlequins with a seven-try destruction of West Hartlepool.

The player-coach marked his first starting appearance of the season by breaking the deadlock with a 23rd minute try that set the bottom club on the road to their seventh defeat of the season.

Saracens looked far from convincing in the first-half, but romped to victory after the break with second-half tries from Tony Diprose, Richard Wallace, Kyran Bracken and replacements Richard Hill and Kevin Sorrell.

Northampton rested all their eight fit internationals for their Anglo- Welsh friendly against Swansea and went down 34-18.

Swansea scored a try in each half from No 8 Lee Jones, and added tries from winger Matthew Robinson and scrum-half Rhodri Jones to seal their victory.