Vunipola brothers get Saracens season off to flying start

London Irish 20 Saracens 42

Mako and Billy Vunipola were influential as Saracens launched their Aviva Premiership title challenge by thrashing London Irish at Twickenham.

The wrecking-ball England forwards played their first game together for Saracens, Mako breaking tackles at will after arriving as a try-scoring substitute and Billy rampant throughout.

Billy arrived from Wasps to join his elder brother during the summer but Mako, who enjoyed a successful British and Irish Lions tour to Australia, was the more destructive.

England Under-20 hooker Jamie George, deputising for the suspended Schalk Brits, crossed twice in the first half to help Saracens establish a comprehensive 21-10 half-time that was beyond overwhelmed Irish.

The try-scoring bonus point appeared to have eluded the Premiership title contenders, but the outstretched arm of Chris Ashton delivered the fifth point in the final move of the game.

Owen Farrell, commanding throughout, kept the scoreboard ticking over with 22 points to ensure the outcome was never in doubt.

Fears that Irish face a long season spent battling relegation were confirmed by a result that suggests they will struggle following their summer exodus of players.

Their highlight was supplied by England wing Marlon Yarde, who built on his fine summer tour to Argentina by cutting short treatment for cramp to join the end of a backs move that finished with him touching down.

Saracens' superiority was evident from the start as Irish were pinned back on their goalline with George running on to a flat ball from close range and easily shrugging off a feeble tackle by Sailosi Tagicakibau.

Farrell kicked the conversion to add to an earlier penalty, but the Exiles responded with a fine passage of play sparked by fly-half Ian Humphreys' smart offload to full-back Topsy Ojo.

Humphreys landed three points, number eight Jon Fisher burst from the base of a scrum and Ojo showed his strength with a determined run as Saracens came under pressure.

Irish almost profited from a dreadful pass by Brad Barritt that went straight to Tagicakibau, but they soon trailed 13-3 after Farrell slotted a second penalty.

Ashton was held up over the line, but Saracens' second try followed shortly after when George and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth combined at a line-out.

They swapped passes with George easily rounding Humphreys to dart over as the Exiles' defence was exposed once more.

Irish responded brilliantly with blindside flanker Kieran Low taking David Paice's pass and running half the pitch to crash over, evading tackles en route to the line.

Humphreys converted, but Farrell was doing a marvellous job of keeping the scoreboard ticking over as he slotted penalties either side of half-time.

Yarde was being fed more ball but with the Exiles' scrum struggling, he was swimming against the tide.

The rampaging Mako Vunipola was a thorn in Irish' sides and in one move he secured the turnover before popping up on the final pass to power over as Saracens celebrated a third try.

Lions prop Matt Stevens was sin-binned for a shoulder charge and Irish capitalised on the extra player through Yarde as a pre-planned scrum move paid off.

Saracens were guilty of a lack of ambition in the closing stages, but finally they secured the fifth point courtesy of a superb finish by Ashton in the final act of the game.

PA

Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Life and Style
life“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice