Aviva Premiership: Sarries beat Gloucester to go back on top
Last Updated: 05/01/14 9:18am
David Strettle races in for a try for Saracens
Saracens regained top spot in the Aviva Premiership thanks to a comfortable 29-8 victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Scrum-half Neil de Kock, wing David Strettle and full-back Alex Goode scored tries, while England fly-half Owen Farrell booted 14 points, although Sarries failed to get the bonus-point try in the final half hour.
All Gloucester could muster in reply was a Billy Twelvetrees penalty and a late Matt Cox try, but their pack was painfully dismantled, with England internationals Ben Morgan and Matt Kvesic experiencing an afternoon to forget.
Even when they had two players sin-binned in quick succession during the second half, Saracens defiantly kept Gloucester scoreless during that eight-minute period.
The Kingsholm pitch had been protected from continued rainfall by a plastic dome since New Year's Eve, and it did the job, safeguarding a fixture when many other games in Gloucestershire were postponed on Saturday.
Gloucester, though, might have wished it had not survived the elements as they fell 8-0 behind inside nine minutes and saw scrum-half Jimmy Cowan sin-binned.
New Zealander Cowan was despatched for illegally halting a relentless Saracens forward drive, and the visitors took advantage, with Farrell kicking a penalty and then De Kock crossing wide out following superb approach work by hooker Schalk Brits.
De Kock briefly left the field for assessment after falling heavily on his head, but he returned after a second Farrell penalty hoisted Saracens 11 points clear as a one-sided opening quarter neared its conclusion.
Saracens' pinpoint off-loading game caused endless trouble for Gloucester, and they soon struck again, cutting their opponents open through slick passing by Brad Barritt, Goode and Brits before Strettle touched down.
The teams were separated by 25 points in the Premiership before kick-off, and such a gulf was emphatically underlined as Farrell's third penalty put Saracens further ahead.
Gloucester did not threaten Saracens' 22 until just before half-time, and although a brief spell of pressure resulted in Twelvetrees kicking a penalty, it did nothing to mask Saracens' overwhelming control of the contest.
With the Gloucester pack being obliterated in the set-pieces - new signings Richard Hibbard and John Afoa cannot arrive soon enough - rugby director Nigel Davies made two front-row changes just four minutes after the restart, sending on hooker Darren Dawidiuk and prop Shaun Knight.
But it made no difference, as the Saracens scrum shunted Gloucester backwards, secured possession and then moved it wide to give Goode a simple run-in.
Farrell's conversion made it 26-3, and Saracens had the best part of 30 minutes to secure a try-scoring bonus point.
Gloucester flickered into life through a sharp break by replacement scrum-half Dan Robson - Saracens number eight Billy Vunipola was sin-binned for illegal work on the ground - and then the visitors lost skipper Steve Borthwick.
Referee Luke Pearce showed Borthwick a yellow card just two minutes after Vunipola departed, but even with 13 players Saracens looked in little trouble.
Another Farrell penalty rubbed salt into a gaping Gloucester wound, although Cox touched down from close range in the 70th minute, Saracens had long since inflicted serious damage on a team that looked devoid of ideas and inspiration.
Fri 27th Mar
Northampton52 - 30Wasps
Sat 28th Mar
Leicester Tigers25 - 18Exeter
London Irish22 - 21Newcastle Falcons
Saracens42 - 14Harlequins
Sun 29th Mar
Sale Sharks23 - 6Gloucester
London Welsh14 - 29Bath
Fri 10th Apr
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Bath
Sat 11th Apr
Harlequins0 - 0Gloucester
Saracens0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 12th Apr
Exeter0 - 0Northampton
London Welsh0 - 0Wasps
London Irish0 - 0Sale Sharks
Fri 24th Apr
Bath0 - 0London Irish
Sat 25th Apr
Sale Sharks0 - 0Harlequins
Gloucester0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers0 - 0London Welsh
Northampton0 - 0Saracens
Sun 26th Apr
Wasps0 - 0Exeter
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins
Aviva Premiership 2013/14 Round 12
Wasps match-winner Andy Goode admitted he had a "stinker" for all but the final act of his side's 19-16 win over Exeter.
Andy Goode's last-gasp drop-goal secured Wasps a dramatic 19-16 victory over battling Exeter at Adams Park.
Bath head coach Mike Ford was pleased with his side's draw at Leicester despite 'feeling like it was a loss'.
- Late Tigers try denies Bath
- Barritt delighted with return
- Saracens 'in a good place'
- Ryan downbeat after defeat
- O'Connor stars in Exiles win
- Diamond delighted with Sale
- Sale secure scrappy win
- Saints beat Quins to go top
- Sunday's Aviva Prem preview
- Cockerill will not face action
- Saturday's Aviva Prem preview
- Friday's Aviva Prem preview