MATCH REPORT | Gloucester 3-24 Saracens Men
Saracens Men registered their first win of the Gallagher Premiership season with an outstanding 24-3 victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm.
The win was built on the foundations of some truly incredible defence as they physically imposed themselves on the Cherry and Whites, and scored three tries courtesy of Alex Lewington and a double from the phenomenal Player of the Match, Tom Willis.
It was a game of chess early on as both sides were trying to work each other out, and only a George Barton penalty separated the sides after an uneventful opening 15 minutes.
Sarries did carve out a chance when Alex Goode’s looping pass found Lewington on the left wing, but the winger’s chip ahead was blocked and the hosts cleared.
Gloucester, who were dominating the scrum in the opening exchanges then looked to turn that domaine in to points as a penalty was kicked deep in to the Saracens 22, but a brilliant lineout steal from Nick Isiekwe ensured their line remained intact.
Zach Mercer then thought he had scored the opening try of the evening when he capitalised on turnover ball and stepped over the line, but in the process of touching the ball down he knocked it on, much to the relief of the visitors.
There was a sense that the hosts had weathered an early storm, and that proved to be true as they thundered over for their first try with 25 minutes on the clock to take the lead.
A sequence of penalties took them to within striking distance, and then after a maul was pulled down Willis was there to power over from the next phase to score. Alex Lozowski’s brilliant conversion made it 7-3 to silence the Shed.
Another score followed just two minutes later as the visitors turned the screw. A loose ball was dropped on the half way line, and Lewington showed his incredible footballing ability to kick ahead and then gather perfectly to score right under the posts. Lozowski again added the extras as the lead grew to 11 points.
Mako Vunipola was sent to the sin-bin with five minutes to go until half time, but it didn’t cause any panic and two heroic defensive sets as well as a lineout steal from Andy Christie ensured Sarries went down the tunnel with a 14-3 advantage at the break.
Gloucester started the second half on the front foot and looked to make the most of their extra man, but once again a relentless Wolfpack defence met them head on and earned themselves a penalty after defending over 10 phases on their line.
Lozowski then had a long-range penalty attempt which drifted just wide, but just two minutes later Willis crashed over for his second as Sarries took control of the game.
Vunipola’s grubber ahead put Ollie Thorpe under pressure near his line, and then from the next phase they tried to get out of danger but Willis clearly had other ideas. A brilliant rip of the ball put him on the front foot and then he did it all himself as he hammered over the final defender to thump the ball down. Lozowski was on the money from the conversion, and all of sudden the lead was 18 points.
The hosts threw everything at Sarries on the hour mark when once again they were held up over the line with some astonishing defence as there continued to be no way through.
Lozowski added another three from the tee with just over 10 minutes to go with a delightful 40 metre penalty, and now the Londoners could eye up a try bonus point as we entered the closing stages.
Ivan van Zyl was sent to the sin bin with five minutes remaining for killing the ball as Ollie Thorley had broken through, but once again from the resulting penalty some outstanding maul defence got them the ball back.
There was one chance for a bonus point as Olly Hartley made metres in the 22 but the hosts eventually turned the ball over and kicked the ball out, confirming a huge win for Sarries at Kingsholm.
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