Saracens make it two from two
October 20, 2012
Saracens skipper Steve Borthwick reaches out to score
© Getty Images
Saracens broke new ground in beating Racing Metro 30-13 on Saturday, with the match staged in Belgium at the King Baudouin Stadium.
The London club will be content to return to Brussels on the strength of a performance that puts them in control of Pool One, denying Racing a bonus point in the process.
While plans to take group games against Edinburgh and Munster to Cape Town and New York have been frustrated, they were able to entice Racing to the Belgian capital.
An estimated 2,000 fans made the journey as part of their ambition to explore new territory until the opening of Allianz Park, their under-development north London stadium, next February.
Saracens ensured their journey was worthwhile as they established a 20-3 interval lead that Racing, with former England back Olly Barkley pulling the strings at 10, were unable to overhaul.
Tries from Chris Wyles and Steve Borthwick put the 2011 Aviva Premiership champions in the driving seat, but their opponents were only fully subdued by Will Fraser's touchdown four minutes from time.
A crowd of 18,202 saw the superb Charlie Hodgson kick 15 points, missing just one shot at goal, while lock Steve Borthwick and centre Brad Barritt both enjoyed fine afternoons. It was hooker Schalk Brits who finished with yet another Man of the Match award, mainly for the magical skill that led to Wyles' opener.
Saracens surged ahead in the 21st minute after the dazzling skills of Brits sent over Wyles, who was making his 100th appearance for the club. The South African raced through a gap, handed off one Racing defender and side-stepped another before slipping the scoring pass to Wyles, who was perfectly positioned in support.
Seven minutes later and Saracens were further ahead, Borthwick crashing over next to the posts following several phases that started with Chris Ashton marauding into space. Hodgson landed both conversions, almost wriggled through an opening he created and then slotted a penalty as the Premiership club continued to dominate.
Racing openside Bernard Le Roux was sin-binned for illegally preventing scrum-half Neil de Kock from distributing the ball and Saracens' control extended into the second-half. Fabrice Estebanez knocked on with the line at his mercy and it took until the 58th minute for the next points to arrive, via the boot of Hodgson.
Racing touched down for the first time after Masi Matadigo and Juan Martin Hernandez combined to send winger Juan Imhoff scorching over, giving hope of a final-quarter fightback.
Those hopes continued when Gaetan Germain booted a penalty with 10 minutes left as the momentum began to shift behind the French club. Smart rugby saw Saracens kick for the corners, however, and they were able to produce a third try when Fraser sliced through a ragged defence, with Hodgson converting.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler