Gloucester 39 Saracens 15: Lamb leads sorry Sarries to slaughter

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The Independent Online

Just before the hour, Lesley Vainikolo finished off a sweeping move by the home side, bulldozing the Saracens wing Dan Scarborough as he raced up the left touchline in front of the Shed. Kingsholm erupted as the Volcano dotted down. It was the fifth try for Gloucester and a sixth was to follow as the Cherry and Whites made a statement of intent seven days after "The Fields of Athenry" had rung round the West Country citadel.

It will take a little while yet for the painful memory of Gloucester's Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to ease but days like this will certainly help. Released from the Munster stranglehold that rendered them tryless Dean Ryan's men cut loose, putting the gloss back into Gloucester and the momentum back into a stuttering season.

The cherry on the cake was a pip of a try by Ryan Lamb, one of a brace by the as-yet uncapped prodigy, as his side moved six points clear at the top of the Guinness Premiership.

"We're in position to control the remainder of our season," Ryan, the head coach, said afterwards. "We've got two of our last three matches at home." Next up on the green, green grass of Kingsholm are a Leeds side who shipped 10 tries a fortnight ago against a Saracens team who endured a torrid time yesterday.

Six days on from their Heineken Cup win against the Ospreys, Alan Gaffney's men held out for 12 minutes before Willie Walker, Gloucester's Kiwi full-back, fed the barrelling double-barrelled James Simpson-Daniel for a score on the left.

Lamb converted and five minutes later he set the wheels in motion for Gloucester's second try, floating a long pass to Walker before the ball was worked out to the right for Iain Balshaw to feed the highly impressive Akapusi Qera. Even Kriss Akabusi in his hurdling prime would have struggled to keep up with the dynamic Fijian flanker as he flew over the Saracens line. Gloucester led 15-3 at the interval and by the fifth minute of the second half they were home and hosed, with a bonus point in the bag.

Lamb bagged 14 points in two minutes, scoring the first of his two tries with a touch of the Phil Bennetts. After Saracens' captain, Neil de Kock, failed to find touch with a kick on the left, the Gloucester No 10 jinked and stepped his way past six black shirts. No mutton dressed as Lamb – this was real-deal stuff, with mint sauce for relish.

The 21-year-old added the extras and then stole a De Kock pass and raced 80 yards to touch down in the same corner and convert again. There was more to come, Vainikolo finishing a move launched from deep by Lamb.

Then – after Balshaw blew a score by attempting to bounce a Lamb chip to the right corner inside to Marco Bortolami – Rory Lawson scored try No 6 with a dart and dive from a five-metre scrum. Adam Powell and Ben Skirving touched down as Gloucester eased off in the closing stages. It was, however, the sorriest of days for Sarries.

Gloucester: W Walker; I Balshaw, J Simpson-Daniel (J Adams, 80), M Tindall, L Vainikolo; R Lamb (C Paterson, 19-24), R Lawson (G Cooper, 68); N Wood, A Titterrell (O Azam, 47), C Nieto (J Forster, 47), M Bortolami (capt; Paterson, 80), A Brown, A Strokosch, A Qera (W James, 54), L Narraway (G Delve, 40).

Saracens: R Haughton (R Penney, 73); D Scarborough, K Sorrell, A Powell, K Ratuvuo; G Jackson (G Ross, 67), N de Kock (capt; M Rauluni, 58), M Aguero, M Cairns, C Visagie (C Johnston, 47), H Vyvyan (I Fullarton, 73), T Ryder, K Chesney, D Barrell (D Seymour, 52), B Skirving.

Referee: R Debney (Leicestershire).

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