MATCH REPORT | Gloucester Rugby 54-7 Saracens Men
Saracens Men ended the regular season in defeat as they were beaten 54-7 by a rampant Gloucester at Kingsholm.
The Men in Black fielded an entirely changed XV with next Saturday’s semi-final looming large, and the Cherry and Whites dominated for large periods as they registered a bonus point win.
Sarries enjoyed some early possession but it was Gloucester who hit the front with nine minutes on the clock via their ever-reliable rolling maul.
A succession of penalties gave them a lineout just 10 metres from the line, and then they drove over with Jack Singleton at the base to dot down. Adam Hastings converted from the touchline as they headed in to an early 7-0 lead.
In an otherwise uneventful opening with plenty of kicking, the hosts went over for their second just before the 20 minute mark as they threatened to pull away. Another maul went towards the line, and then a smart inside ball found Jordy Reid who could step past the final defender to score from close range.
The North Londoners then looked to hit back and nearly did so in stunning style when Max Malins’ acrobatic dive almost allowed him to score in the corner, but agonisingly the ball just fell out of his grasp and after a check with the Television Match Official it was disallowed.
The chances kept coming, and this time Callum Hunter-Hill charged towards the line after Duncan Taylor’s offload, but just as he entered the 22 he was hauled down and then the ball was stolen at the breakdown.
Sarries were then punished for not capitalising as Santiago Carreras raced away for their third try of the afternoon before half time. A mix up in an aerial battle gave Gloucester a counter attack opportunity, and Hastings’ flat pass to the full-back allowed him to run clear from 15 metres out.
The extras were added, and some brilliant defence from Elliott Obatoyinbo when Louis Rees-Zammit looked to be in for another ensured that the lead stayed at 21-0 as the teams headed down the tunnel for half time.
Tim Swinson was sent to the bin early in the second half for a high tackle, and Gloucester took advantage straight away with their bonus point try.
The penalty was kicked to the corner, and in identical fashion to his early try, Singleton was at the base of the maul to dot down to extend their lead to 26-0.
It got even better for the hosts just five minutes later, as this time it was Ollie Thorley who went dancing through the defence for try number five.
Both benches were then emptied but Gloucester maintained their dominance, as another rolling maul saw Santiago Socino pounce at the base, scoring their sixth in front of a jubilant home crowd.
The travelling Sarries fans did have something to cheer about with 20 minutes left as Max Malins went out in front in the race to be top try-scorer when he intercepted and ran clear from 40 metres to register their first points of the afternoon.
Jackson Wray was leading the charge as his side looked for a way back in to the match, but just as he broke through the line the ball was stolen and then the electric Rees-Zammit gathered Reid’s grubber ahead to score another long-range try.
Two minutes later Jack Clement went over as they once again showed their expansive ability out wide, bringing up their half century of points.
That proved to be the last notable action on a disappointing day for Sarries, who will look to bounce back in the semi-final at StoneX on Saturday.