MATCH REPORT | Wasps 40-21 Saracens Men
Saracens Men ended their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign in defeat as they were beaten 40-21 by Wasps at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
A youthful Sarries side showed immense promise from start to finish in a highly encouraging display, but they were eventually undone against a strong Wasps side.
Rotimi Según, Sam Bryan and Samson Adejimi all crossed the line, but the hosts scored six to condemn the visitors to defeat.
In what was an uneventful opening to proceedings in the Midlands, both sides were relying on their kicking game to get territory as they looked to build in to the match.
It was Wasps who would open the scoring with 20 minutes played, as they got rewarded for their dominance in possession throughout the opening quarter.
A string of penalties took them up towards the line, and then Ryan Mills’ perfect cross-field kick found Luke Mehson in acres of space on the right wing who could dot down unattended. Rob Miller converted from the touchline as the hosts moved in to a 7-0 lead.
That seemed to spark Sarries in to life however and they almost responded immediately from the restart. Dom Morris, who was looking lively with ball in hand made a half break, and then the ball was spun to Josh Hallett in the 22 but his looping pass was intercepted.
Bryan was starting to look dangerous for the visitors as he looked to break from the base of a number of rucks, and after a sustained spell of pressure the North Londoners got themselves level.
A penalty was kicked to the corner, and then the ball went straight to Manu Vunipola from the maul and his delightful kick went from right to left and allowed Segun to gather and race away in the corner. Vunipola converted to make it 7-7 with 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Wasps then struck just before the break to ensure that they went down the tunnel with the lead. Sarries were on the attack but all of a sudden an interception was kicked down field and had the backs chasing hard.
The clearing kick was then charged down by Nizaam Carr, and it bounced up perfectly for him as he pounced on it to dot down from close range. Miller added the straight forward extras as Wasps took a 14-7 lead in to the break.
Sarries continued their impressive intent in the early stages of the second half, and went incredibly close to scoring just five minutes after the restart.
Elliott Obatoyinbo’s grubber went right through the middle of the Wasps defence, but just as Morris was looking to gather the bounce went astray and the hosts could be relieved with a huge slice of luck.
Wasps then looked for their third try and it looked likely when Carr’s inside ball found Will Simmonds in all sorts of space in the 22, but as it did in the first half the final pass let them down and Sarries survived.
They didn’t survive for much longer though, as Wasps got it right from the next phase of play to give themselves some breathing space. Once again their neat interplay created some space and made an overlap on the right wing, allowing Mehson to stroll over for his second of the evening. Miller’s touchline conversion gave them a 14-point advantage.
Sarries hit back though within two minutes to bring themselves right back in to the match. Vunipola, who was having a great night as captain grubbered through and this time the bounce was ideal. It popped up to Hallett, who had Bryan next to him and released the scrum-half to dive under the posts. Vunipola’s conversion cut the gap to just seven points.
The lead wasn’t within striking distance for long though as Mehson then completed his hat-trick to earn Wasps their bonus point. A long looping pass found the winger in space again, and he stepped the final man to dive over in the corner. Miller again was perfect from the tee, forcing Sarries to start their comeback once again.
Kelly Brown’s side refused to roll over though, and once again got themselves back in the match with 10 minutes to go. Adejimi, who had only just come on to the pitch crashed over from close range after Harris’ break had taken play up to the line, and with Vunipola’s conversion they were back within striking distance.
Mehson then further improved what was turning out to be a memorable night for him as he got his fourth to put the result beyond doubt. He was hugging the right touchline and then stepped inside again to dot down against a Sarries side who were now full of academy stars, proving their hugely exciting future.
There was still time for one more Wasps try as they mauled over the line to add further gloss to the scoreboard, and they ended the night as 40-21 winners as a whole host of Saracens players proved their quality in the final match of the Premiership Rugby Cup campaign.