Constable lays down law for Saracens

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The Independent Online

While they are not exactly down on their luck, Saracens, who bade farewell to their former director of rugby Mark Evans last Monday, have not had the happiest of weeks or the best of seasons for that matter. Having no cup interest they have had no option but to concentrate on the Premiership in the hope of qualifying for next autumn's Heineken European Cup.

They are not there yet, but they did their confidence no harm as they put nine tries past hapless Bedford at Goldington Road; six of them being taken by the South African-born Ryan Constable, who broke Kenny Logan's Premiership record of five. Constable, a naturalised Australian who is also surplus to Saracens' requirements, returns to Australia at the end of the season.

Bedford's minds must now be concentrated on the play-offs. And that looks like being a repeat of last May's when they saved their necks against Rotherham, by virtue of scoring more tries in the two games. But with Rotherham on a hot streak at the top of the Second Division, Bedford will have to show much greater commitment than they did against Saracens if they are to maintain their status.

Bedford probably thought they had turned the corner after last week's defeat of Newcastle, but it led into a red and black dead-end, with the game as a contest over by half-time, Saracens blazing to a 35-12 lead.

Andy Gomarsall's side were still dining out on the Newcastle experience when it started to go awry as early as the 12th minute. Gomarsall, in direct competition with Kyran Bracken for a scrum-half place on England's summer tour to South Africa, was able to witness at close quarters what Clive Woodward has missed since Bracken fell victim to a bulging disc, keeping him out of the game for nine months.

While it was Constable running in the tries, it was Bracken running the show and Constable still with the energy to run rings around what remained of the Bedford defence for his last two scores. For the first, Constable had Bracken to thank as the Saracens' scrum-half engineered the space from a tapped penalty to put the winger in at the right corner.

From there on it became a rout as Saracens scored three tries in one eight-minute spell, and another before the break, all of them converted by Thierry Lacroix. Gomarsall kicked three penalties to give Bedford some hope, but that had no more substance than their tackling, as Saracens began the second period with Constable's fourth try and a touchdown by Paul Wallace. Ryan Banks, Jamie Connolly and Dan Harris won tries for Bedford before Constable raced to his record in the final three minutes.

Bedford: Tries Banks, Connolly, Harris; Conversion Gomarsall; Penalties Gomarsall 4. Saracens: Tries Constable 6, Lacroix, Flatman, Wallace; Conversions Lacroix 6.

Bedford: S Stewart; P Sackey (A McLean, 37), D Harris (C Richards, 80), J Connolly, G Truelove; D Hughes, A Gomarsall (capt); A Olver, C Pearson, V Hartland (A Black, h-t), D Sims (C Eagle, 46), D Zaltzman, R Winters, F Rossigneux (M Webber, 59), R Banks.

Saracens: R Thirlby; R Constable, B Johnston, K Sorrell, D O'Mahony; T Lacroix (M Leek, 74), K Bracken (M Powell, 71); D Flatman, G Chuter, P Wallace, S Murray (K Chesney, 22), D Grewcock (F Pienaar, 57), B Davison, R Hill, T Diprose (capt).

Referee: N Yates (Manchester).