Zebre 10 Saracens 39 match report: Sarries go top of Pool 3 after comfortable win in Parma
Tries from Kruis, Joubert, Wyles and an Ashton double sees Aviva Premiership leaders bounce back from Toulouse defeat at Wembley
Saturday 07 December 2013
Saracens claimed top spot in Heineken Cup Pool 3 with a 39-10 bonus-point victory over Zebre.
George Kruis, Ernst Joubert and Chris Wyles all crossed before Chris Ashton scored twice in the space of eight minutes to wrap up the victory.
Samu Vunisa claimed a late consolation score for Zebre but it was never enough to trouble the visitors who recovered from their defeat to Toulouse at Wembley Stadium to get their campaign back on track.
From the moment Charlie Hodgson kicked Saracens ahead from the sixth minute they rarely looked likely to surrender the lead.
The Italians were made to pay for basic errors deep inside their own half when a knock-on handed Sarries an attacking scrum from which second-row Kruis eventually crashed over from five metres out on 13 minutes.
Hodgson converted and added a second penalty before another set-piece move saw Saracens claim their second try.
Number eight Joubert stormed over from a well-worked lineout and despite Hodgson missing the conversion from out wide, Saracens led 18-0 after 24 minutes.
Opposite number Vunisa was shown a yellow card for a professional foul moments later and Alex Goode made the most of the advantage.
The full-back mounted a counter-attack and Ashton's pass handed Wyles a simple finish in the corner with Hodgson converting.
Saracens pressure mounted and Mauro Bergamasco joined Vunisa in the sin bin to leave Zebre down to 13 men for three minutes before half-time.
Against the odds, Gonzalo Garcia kicked the first points of the second half though Saracens still threatened.
David Strettle saw his try ruled out for obstruction earlier in the move before Ashton made sure of the bonus point on 61 minutes with Hodgson adding the extras.
The England wing then grabbed a second just moments later after good work by Strettle and Goode. Owen Farrell converted for his first points of the game.
However Zebre finished the stronger and after Saracens replacement Duncan Taylor was binned for not releasing the tackled player, Vunisa stepped through a gap in midfield and galloped 50 metres for a rousing score that gave the home crowd something to cheer.
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