Saracens outgun Newcastle as Wray condemns the RFU

Saracens 24 Newcastle 9

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray branded the Rugby Union unfit to regulate the game in a stinging pre-match attack at Vicarage Road. And despite seeing his team continue their pursuit of a first league title after a bit of a struggle, Wray cut loose.

Wray is furious that the RFU allowed a Super 15 fixture between Crusaders and Sharks to be staged at Twickenham, without consulting the Aviva Premiership, on the weekend when England's elite clubs were back in action after the Six Nations.

"How can you have the RFU as the regulator of the game, the person who, if you like, tells you when you can open shop for business when they are also a competitor?" Wray said. "They run competitive games, as indeed can be seen when, without a word or thought for the Premiership clubs, they organise at Twickenham a competing fixture involving Canterbury from New Zealand.

"Charity is a factor, but £5 from every £40 ticket? Why not hold it on an international weekend? Competition is fine, of course, but you cannot be the regulator as well. This is our first home game since we faced Leeds on February 20, five weeks. What a way to run a business.

"Can you imagine if Harrods told their customers they were closing for five weeks. Surprise, surprise, those customers would go to Selfridges. The season is a shambles. Competitions collide with each other, we switch from one to the other, never finishing any one off. It is hugely frustrating."

On the field, Saracens bore the look of men struggling to shake off the cobwebs after three weeks without a game. Despite a well-worked early try by James Short, Saracens made hard work of a limited Newcastle who managed to visit the home 22 just once in the opening 40 minutes.

Alex Goode experienced an off-day with the boot, missing three of his four attempts on goal before making way for Owen Farrell who kicked three penalties and a conversion.

Yet with 27 minutes remaining, the scoreline was a modest 11-9, and it took some serious words from captain Steve Borthwick to raise the pulse-rate of his charges. Jared Saunders ended the suspense with a second try after Noah Cato had sucked in three defenders to halt his powerful charge for the line.

So nothing changes – Saracens still chasing a first title, Newcastle fighting for their Premiership lives.

Scorers. Saracens: Tries, Short, Saunders. Penalties, Goode, Farrell (3). Conversions, Farrell. Newcastle: Penalties, Gopperth (3)

Saracens: A Goode; D Strettle, C Wyles, B Barritt, J Short; O Farrell, N de Kock; M Stevens, S Brits, C Nieto, S Borthwick, c, H Smith, J Melck, E Joubert, A Saull.

Newcastle: T Catterick; A Tait, L Eves, J Fitzpatrick, R Sheriffe; J Gopperth, C Pilgrim; J Golding, M Thompson , J Hall, J Hudson, A van der Heijden, T Swinson, A Hogg, W Welch.

Referee: M Fox.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system