Chris Ashton claims hat-trick as Saracens stroll to victory
Chris Ashton scored a hat-trick of tries as Saracens remained unbeaten in all competitions this season with a convincing 55-13 European Champions Cup Pool 1 victory over Top 14 strugglers Oyonnax at Allianz Park.
This was their 10th consecutive win and one which virtually guarantees them a home quarter-final.
Saracens scored eight tries in all, with three from Ashton, two from Samuela Vunisa and one each from Alex Goode, Jamie George, and Mike Ellery. Owen Farrell added a penalty and four conversions and replacement Charlie Hodgson added two conversions.
Oyonnax were competitive in the first half an hour but fell away badly to concede three tries in 11 minutes and could only manage one try from Fetu'u VaInikolo, which Rory Clegg converted. Regis Lespinas added a further two two penalties.
Saracens started slowly but thought they had crossed for the game's opening try after 10 minutes when Farrell's long pass saw winger Ellery go in but the score was ruled out for a foot in touch.
However, two minutes later Saracens were ahead when Ashton squeezed in at the corner for Farrell to convert before Lespinas got the French outfit on the scoreboard with a penalty.
Saracens suffered a blow when Schalk Brits was forced to leave the field after just 21 minutes to be replaced by George but the home side were now playing with increased fluency and Farrell increased their advantage with a simple penalty.
Ashton had a try ruled out for a forward pass but it mattered little as moments later he collected a clever kick through from Farrell for his second score. Farrell missed the conversion before Lespinas kicked a second penalty for the visitors.
Saracens sealed the game with two line-out drive tries from Vunisa either side of half-time with Farrell adding a conversion to give them a 27-6 lead after 45 minutes.
It was now one-way traffic as Oyonnax wilted and Alex Goode scored the best try of the game by splitting the French defence to run 55 metres to score before Ellery repeated the feat, scooping up a loose ball to sprint over the line. Farrell converted both and the home side were out of sight.
A well-timed pass from Hodgson sent George on an unopposed 25-metre run to the line before a Hodgson pass was intercepted by former Exeter winger Vainikolo to race 50 metres to score a consolation try for Oyonnax.
However, Saracens had the final say when Ashton completed his hat-trick as he latched on to a well-judged kick from Richard Wigglesworth.