Saracens in 50-point demolition

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The Independent Online

High fives at Vicarage Road yesterday as Saracens not only picked up four points for a stunning victory, but also became the first side in the Zurich Premiership to claim the bonus point for running in four tries.

High fives at Vicarage Road yesterday as Saracens not only picked up four points for a stunning victory, but also became the first side in the Zurich Premiership to claim the bonus point for running in four tries.

There was nothing that Gloucester could take home with them. Not even a bonus point for keeping within seven points of the early Premiership leaders. During this half century of humiliation Gloucester also lost the services of replacement hooker Jawad Djoudi, who was sent off in the 65th minute, just 11 after coming on for Oliver Azam.

Djoudi appeared to head butt Saracens wing Darragh O'Mahony and faces a minimum 60-day suspension. Fly-half Simon Mannix was rendered hors de combat with a suspected broken hand after seven minutes and then wing Chris Catling suffered a knock to a knee.

Thomas Castaignÿde marked his debut with 20 points from eight successful kicks at goal. "I had a lot of fun," said the France international afterwards. "It was very hard, maybe a bit more physical than in France, but Saracens play the type of rugby I love."

It was the type of rugby the 7,000 plus crowd love as well. Especially a magical spell of four minutes at the end of the first half when they scored 21 points.

The Saracens captain, Kyran Bracken, had scored their opening try from a set scrum midway through the first half and he was instrumental in the probings and promptings as the home side gradually got a grip on affairs.

And the more inventive Saracens finally got their reward when Luger broke and the ball was worked back inside to Bill Davison, the lock thundering over unopposed and close enough to ensure that Castaignÿde landed his first conversion.

A minute later Kevin Sorrell went away, stepped inside Terry Fanolua and touched down under the posts. Castaignÿde did the business again and the stadium was humming. That turned to a roar when, not 60 seconds later, lock Scott Murray touched down.

Dan Luger, making his first start for Saracens, capped a fine first half with a superb break down the centre of the field. Having drawn the Gloucester cover he sent out a long pass to Castaignÿde, the ball was worked back inside and the Scotland lock Murray, who had unbelievably kept up with the pacy backs, latched on to the pass from centre Ben Johnston and crashed over the line.

The rout though was not over. Luger scored his first try for Saracens when Tony Diprose gave him a perfect pass which left him bags of room for a simple try in the right-hand corner. By now Castaignÿde's kicking was in turbo and the touchline conversion sailed over.

Serge Simon, Gloucester's replacement prop, then made a rude interruption before another piece of superb handling by Saracens ended up with Johnston steaming in.

Castaignÿde's fourth penalty to bring up the half century had followed Chris Yates unopposed jog to the line for the consolation score.

Saracens: Tries Bracken, Davison, Sorrell, Murray, Luger, Johnston; Conversions Castaignÿde 4; Penalties Castaignÿde 4. Gloucester: Tries Simon, Yates; Conversions Hayward 2; Penalties Hayward 2.

Saracens: T Castaignÿde; D O'Mahony (B Sparg, 68), B Johnston, K Sorrell, D Luger; D MacRae, K Bracken (capt); P Wallace (D Flatman, 56), M Cairns, J White, B Davison, S Murray, K Chesney, T Diprose (T Roques, 75), R Hill.

Gloucester: T Fanolua; C Catling (R Greenslade-Jones, 68), J Ewens, C Yates, R Jewell; S Mannix (B Hayward, 6), I Sanders; A Powles (S Simon, 41), O Azam (J Djoudi, 54), A Deacon, R Fidler (M Cornwell, 62), I Jones (capt), S Ojomoh (A Eustace, 54), J Paramore (O Azam, 68), J Boer (H Gregoire-Mazzocco, 73).

Referee: S Lander (Liverpool).

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