Saracens run riot against Edinburgh
October 13, 2012
Saracens' Joel Tomkins goes over against Edinburgh
© PA Photos
Charlie Hodgson bagged 25 points for Saracens as they routed Edinburgh 45-0 in their opening Heineken Cup clash.
Hodgson scored one of five tries - Joel Tomkins, Owen Farrell, Chris Ashton and Alex Goode claimed the others - and booted four penalties and four conversions as Edinburgh were completely outclassed.
Saracens were on top right from the start and former rugby league star Tomkins marked his Heineken Cup debut by claiming the opening try when Edinburgh were caught out by a quick tap-penalty move in the 16th minute. Hodgson's immaculate form with the boot carved out a 16-0 half-time lead for the visitors.
The home side's cause was hardly helped when they lost skipper Craig Laidlaw and leading scorer Tim Visser to injuries at the break. Scrum-half Richie Rees threatened with a powerful run from deep in his own half but was brought down 10 metres short of the Sarries line. Schalk Brits was handed a spell in the sin bin for not releasing Rees after he had been tackled.
But Sarries coped comfortably with being a man down and Hodgson thumped over a long-range penalty to extend their lead. Farrell had only just been entered the action when he stormed over in the corner for a second Sarries try just before the hour mark.
Edinburgh were looking a well beaten side know and Ashton underlined the visitors' superiority as the held off a couple of weak tackling attempts to dive over near the posts for a third try. Goode provided the finishing touch to a flowing move to claim a fourth score and secure a bonus point.
Hodgson then capped his impressive performance with a trademark charge-down try, pouncing on Harry Leonard's attempted clearing kick and strolling over for Sarries' fifth and final score.
Edinburgh boss Michael Bradley was left in a low mood after his men slumped to the club's worst European defeat. "It's hard to put into words what I feel," Bradley said. "We knew the systems they would employ. But my guys didn't play to our game plan.
"Instead of kicking the ball beyond the line of Saracens players, they insisted on running into the dragon's den - we could have been beaten by more.
A number of Edinburgh supporters left the ground in the closing 10 minutes, prompting Bradley to promise an improved display in next week's clash at Munster. "We've let everyone down," he said. "Today was completely unacceptable. We need to give a big performance next week."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Bows, bouts and big hits, launches, lineouts and late tries. Here's the finest snaps from the last seven days: it's Week in Pictures time
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview