Saracens roll on to eighth straight win
Saracens 22 Wasps 6
Monday 23 November 2009
There is just no stopping these Saracens, who beat the world champions South Africa last Tuesday, then the former English and European champions yesterday to complete their eighth Guinness Premiership victory in a row and march six points clear at the top of the table.
Once again, though, the fare on offer was a long way below the level required to raise pulses on a cold, wet and windy afternoon at Vicarage Road. Yet you cannot knock a club who were apparently in a state of mild chaos during the off-season with so many comings and goings, yet now boast a 100-per-cent winning record in the league and two 40,000-plus crowds at Wembley Stadium.
It was hard not to feel some sympathy for Wasps – deprived of England trio Tim Payne, Simon Shaw and Joe Worsley, whose season hangs in the balance after suffering knee ligament damage at Twickenham on Saturday.
However, you cannot compete at this level without a scrum, and the Wasps unit was more like a wobbling jelly which, in turn, provided Saracens with a glut of penalties.
Derick Hougaard missed nearly as many as he landed, but still racked up 17 points compared with just two goals from David Walder.
The game's only try, scored by the outstanding hooker Schalk Brits after 12 minutes, came as a result of a rampaging maul which Wasps simply could not contain. With Carlos Nieto twisting and tormenting their scrum while buffing his nails, it bordered on the embarrassing.
Saracens' director of rugby, Brendan Venter, said: "We played really well. After what happened on Tuesday, they still managed to produce that performance on a bitterly cold day.
"Winning is becoming a bit of a drug. We won't win every game, that's the nature of rugby. But we are very difficult to beat and our lineout and scrum were magnificent."
Wasps' head coach, Tony Hanks, admitted his men were not good enough: "No excuses. We were not accurate enough on the day. It's all very well talking about who is missing on Test duty, but we had people out, and so did they. This group of Wasps players has been earning praise in recent weeks so it's about what we did in this 80 minutes.
"And we've won on wet pitches this season already, and there won't be many dry ones in the coming months. I am disappointed with this display, one from which we did not deserve a losing bonus point."
Saracens: Try Brits; Conversion Hougaard; Penalties Hougaard 3; Drop-goals Hougaard 2 Wasps: Penalties Walder 2.
Saracens: A Goode; N Cato (R Penney 50), K Ratuvou, B Barritt (A Powell 62), M Tagicakibau; D Hougaard, K Barrett (J Marshall 50); R Gill (C Lealamanua 76), S Brits (E Reynecke 71), C Nieto (R Skuse 50), H Vyvyan, T Ryder (M Botha 50), W Van Heerden (capt) (D Barrell 72), E Joubert, A Saull.
Wasps: M Van Gisbergen (L Mitchell 61); P Sackey, B Jacobs, D Waldouck, T Varndell; D Walder, J Simpson; G Bocca (R Webber 52), J Ward C Beech 52), B Broster (B Baker, 29), G Skivington (M Veale 70), R Birkett, J Hart (D Leo 74), S Betsen (capt), D Ward-Smith.
Referee: D Richards (Berkshire).
Manchester United transfer news and rumours: David De Gea could leave for FREE; £38m for Marquinhos; £37m bid for Mats Hummels;
Phil Neville and his fellow Match of the Day pundits given warning by the BBC after 'smash them' comment
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Tottenham player ratings: Christian Eriksen? Harry Kane? Who was the star man at Bramall Lane?
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berdych - LIVE! Australian Open semi-final latest as Murray wins after losing first set
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia