Saracens slice through Treviso
November 13, 2011
Owen Farrell touches down for Saracens
© Getty Images
Saracens began their Heineken Cup campaign with a 42-17 victory over Benetton Treviso at Vicarage Road on Sunday.
Owen Farrell played a key role with a try, four conversions and three penalties for a personal points tally of 22, while David Strettle, Chris Wyles, Ernst Joubert and debutant John Smit also crossed for tries in a convincing Saracens win.
Treviso, who trailed 16-3 at half-time, claimed two late tries through replacements Franco Sbaraglini and Gonzalo Padro but it was too little too late for the Italian side.
Saracens will make Heineken Cup history this season, however they fare, as they will play their six Pool Five ties at six different venues. This is the only home tie to be staged at Vicarage Road, but the Aviva Premiership side certainly made the most of it.
It took them only four minutes to edge into the lead with Farrell kicking a penalty. The game was then held up in the ninth minute for treatment to Saracens flanker Justin Melck, who was hurt during a collision at the breakdown a minute after coming on for a blood injury to Andy Saull. The game was held up for ten minutes before Melck was taken from the field on a stretcher.
Both teams took a while to get going before Saracens doubled their lead with another Farrell penalty after 20 minutes. Three minutes after that Saracens increased their advantage with a try out of nothing.
Charlie Hodgson's kick looked too deep for Farrell to catch, but Treviso fullback Ludo Nitoglia made a hash of grounding the ball over his line, allowing Farrell to pounce for a gift of a try. Farrell added the conversion to make it 13-0, but Saracens found themselves down to 14 men soon after when Schalk Brits was adjudged to have made a late tackle and sent to the sin-bin.
Treviso made the most of the subsequent penalty to get off the mark, fly-half Willem de Waal slotting the kick. Farrell then missed successive penalty attempts, the second after Diego Vidal was sin-binned for making an illegal block on Neil de Kock, before successfully converting one from 40 metres out just before half-time to make it 16-3.
Saracens turned up the heat from the re-start and were rewarded with their second try after 47 minutes. The hosts broke left from a ruck, Hodgson's pass to Brits was switched back inside, straight to Strettle who had made a terrific diagonal line off his right wing to score. Farrell converted.
Smit made his Saracens debut on 58 minutes, the former South Africa World Cup-winning captain coming off the bench to replace Brits.
Saracens scored their third try on the hour. James Short made the initial break, Barritt and Hodgson were also involved before USA full-back Wyles raced around the outside on the right to score.
Farrell failed to convert that but Saracens clinched the bonus point four minutes later when Joubert scored on the left after a long pass left by Ben Spencer, with Farrell this time adding the extra points.
Treviso kept battling and scored their first try after 74 minutes, Sbaraglini crossing on the left with a man spare outside him. De Waal added the conversion. Smit made it something of a dream debut when he drove himself over from a ruck for the fifth try, Farrell again converting.
There was just enough time left for Padro to score a second Treviso try, De Waal adding the conversion with the game's final kick.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament