Referee assists Saracens fightback

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The Independent Online

Referee Tim Hayes gave Saracens two penalty tries as they edged past Glasgow 28-23 in their European Challenge Cup opener at Vicarage Road yesterday.

The Scottish side led 16-10 at half-time, on the back of a try to winger Francisco Leonelli and the boot of Dan Parks, but referee Hayes became the toast of more than 4,000 home fans by awarding his second penalty try of the match.

Glasgow salvaged a losing bonus point with a 73rd-minute touchdown by Hefin O'Hare, but Saracens held on for the win.

The English club opened the scoring through the boot of Glen Jackson before Leonelli's try and four goals from Parks gave the visitors a 16-3 advantage.

A penalty try late in the first half was the start of Saracens' fightback, and a try by Kevin Yates and the second penalty try gave the home side 23 straight points and the victory.

Elsewhere, Bristol's coach Richard Hill was left unimpressed on Saturday after his Premiership leaders launched their Challenge Cup campaign in mediocre fashion. Their opponents, Bucharest, lost 106-3 to Gloucester in last season's competition but Bristol toiled for a 27-3 success and required two second-half tries from Brian O'Riordan to give them some breathing space in Romania.

"We were up for it, but we were sloppy," Hill said. "We made quite a few changes from last week, and we didn't click. I don't know if it was complacency, but we should have won by a much bigger margin."

Bristol managed a bonus point success, though, and join Pool One leaders Newport Gwent Dragons on five points, with Sam Cox, Marko Stanojevic and Luke Arscott following O'Riordan over the Bucharest line.

Worcester overcame visitors Viadana 25-7 with props Chris Horsman and Lee Fortey claiming tries.

Toulouse suffered their worst Heineken Cup defeat since 2002 as Ulster posted a 30-3 win at Ravenhill.

* Waikato lock Keith Robinson, who spent most of the last two years with back and knee injuries, has capped his comeback with selection for New Zealand's November tour. A 32-man squad will travel for two Tests against France between games against England and Wales.

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