Sarries hammer hapless Leeds
February 20, 2011
Sarries hammer hapless Leeds%]
Saracens kept up their pursuit of Aviva Premiership leaders Leicester with a facile 39-0 victory over struggling Leeds Carnegie at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
The outcome was never in doubt after Sarries had racked up two tries inside the opening ten minutes through midfield duo Michael Tagicakibau and Brad Barritt. Winger James Short crossed in the closing stages of a one-sided first half before Richard Wigglesworth secured the bonus point for Sarries when he dotted shortly after the interval. Chris Wyles completed the scoring when he crossed for a fantastic solo score on 63 minutes as the hosts cruised to a victory which drew them to within five points of the Tigers.
Saracens stunned Leeds with a try in the opening minute. Leigh Hinton saw his attempted clearance charged down, the ball rebounded into the in-goal area and centre Tagicakibau won the race to touch down on the left. Alex Goode added the conversion.
Within six minutes, Leeds were in deep trouble as Saracens rolled a maul towards their line, Wigglesworth whipped the ball to his right and Barritt darted over the line between two defenders.
Leeds did not cross the halfway line until the 15th minute, and that attack was snuffed out by Andy Saull only for Saracens to concede a penalty for a high tackle on Scott Barrow. Adrian Jarvis hooked his kick past the near post from the left wing.
It was a harrowing half for the visitors, who spent most of it fighting a rearguard action and, when Steve Thompson went offside in front of his posts, Goode made no mistake with the penalty. The fullback was on target again in the 28th minute as Leeds panicked under pressure, and the jitters were evident in some of the basics with passes knocked on and some kicks from hand collected too easily by the home side.
Saracens centre Brad Barritt forces his way over the whitewash during Sunday's game in Watford © Getty Images
Leeds did get up a head of steam on 32 minutes, forcing a penalty as Saracens tried to pull down a maul. Jarvis went for touch but Leeds then knocked-on behind their own maul and wasted their first genuine scoring position.
It summed up Leeds' first half when an attempted miss-pass to his left wing by Jarvis was intercepted by Short on halfway and the wing proved too quick for the chasing pack and scored with a dive by the posts, leaving Good with an easy conversion attempt.
Saracens had collected the bonus point just six minutes into the second half as Wigglesworth finished off a prolonged series of phases by picking the ball from the back of a ruck, shaping to pass right only to spin between two defenders and score his team's fourth try from five yards.
Leeds earned a penalty in front of the posts on 64 minutes but instead of getting some points on the board they tapped, ran and were knocked back so emphatically that referee Chris White awarded a penalty to Saracens.
This was not a game Leeds' England squad members Thompson and Hendre Fourie will want to remember. Wyles, on the other hand, will remember it for years to come. The Saracens left wing took a pass from Neil de Kock in midfield, set off for the line and left six opponents trailing as he danced his way to a superb solo try, converted by Goode.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape
Move over, Castro - from falling off a chair to stepping off the team bus, Scrum Sevens recounts some of the strangest rugby injuries ever
Martin Gillingham on the latest from France and why the national side can learn a thing or two from Top 14 side Bordeaux Begles