Sarries march ahead but battle at Waterloo looms

Saracens 45 Edinburgh 0: Londoners face Racing Métro in Belgium after thrashing Edinburgh

It will take more than a trip up to the Scottish capital for Saracens to truly prove their worth on the European stage – and to shoot down those critics who have them pegged as a unit with just a singular dimension. No sooner had the 2011 English champions cleared their round one pool hurdle in the Heineken Cup, bagging a bonus point on the road with a 45-0 win against Edinburgh at Murrayfield on Saturday, than Mark McCall, their director of rugby, was turning his attention to a battle that will be closer to Waterloo in at least one respect.

The Sarries might have succeeded where all continental visitors failed last season but the Edinburgh side to whom they subjected a five-try massacre was a tame, shambolic shadow of the dynamic brigade who beat all comers to their home patch – Toulouse included – en route to the semi-finals of Europe's premier club competition. It promises to be different at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels – up the road from the scene of the 1815 England v France epic – when Saracens play their opening Pool One "home" contest against Racing Métro this coming Saturday, having opted to play the game in Belgium.

"We've got a difficult game next week," McCall said. "Racing beat Munster in their opener, so it's a pivotal game in the group. But this is a good start for us. The history of this competition tells you that away wins are vitally important and to get one win with a bonus point is obviously a huge boost to us."

It was another good day for Sarries' thirtysomething fly-half pivot, Charlie Hodgson, who racked up a quarter-century of points – courtesy of a late charge-down try, four conversions and four penalties. There was much else to admire, though. There was the deft back-of-the-hand offload with which Brad Barritt furnished the opening score for his centre partner Joel Tomkins, the rapier combination between Owen Farrell and Chris Ashton for the second try on the hour and some razor-sharp interplay from Ashton, Hodgson, Barritt and full-back Alex Goode in the final quarter.

The wound of what was a record margin of defeat at home in the Heineken Cup for Edinburgh was self-inflicted in large part, too. As Michael Bradley, McCall's opposite number and former Ireland team-mate, lamented: "We couldn't have played any worse. We couldn't pass the ball from A to B."

 

 

Unlike Saracens, who zipped the ball with clinical precision from A to Z all afternoon, playing in glorious 3D. "We want to score tries and we want to be positive," McCall said, when asked about those "one-dimensional" jibes. "Against a good team like Edinburgh you've got to build pressure and I thought Steve Borthwick was magnificent today. He really got into their line-out and when you don't have a base to play from, it's very difficult."

Saracens: Tries Tomkins, Farrell, Ashton, Goode, Hodgson; Cons Hodgson 4; Pens Hodgson 4.

Edinburgh: T Brown; L Jones, N De Luca, M Scott, T Visser (D Fife, 40); G Laidlaw (capt, H Leonard, 40), R Rees (C Leck, 69); J Yapp (R Hislop, 69), R Ford (A Titterell, 61), W Nel (G Cross, 61), G Gilchrist, S Cox (R McAlpine, 77), D Denton (N Talei, 61), R Rennie, S McInally.Saracens: A Goode; C Ashton, J Tomkins (O Farrell, 60), B Barritt, D Strettle (C Wyles, 67); C Hodgson, R Wigglesworth (N De Kock, 51); M Vuinipola (R Gil, 59), S Brits (J Smit, 66), M Stevens (P Du Plessis, 67), S Borthwick (capt), M Botha (G Kruis, 59), K Brown, W Fraser (J Smit, 45-55; A Saul, 56), J Wray.

Referee: J Lacey (Ireland).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor