Danny Cipriani stars but Wasps are stung by Saracens
Danny Cipriani illuminated an otherwise dull Aviva Premiership showdown at Allianz Park that saw Saracens grind out a 30-14 bonus-point victory over Wasps.
With England head coach Eddie Jones watching from the stands, Cipriani set up his team's only try with a dashing step and injection of pace and sped off on another eye-catching break in the second half.
It will not have been enough to change Jones' thinking on a player he has repeatedly overlooked in favour of George Ford and Owen Farrell, but his creative spark behind an outmuscled pack breathed life into an eagerly-awaited clash that delivered few thrills.
Saracens ended the league's last 100 per cent record with two tries from Jamie George in the final 12 minutes propelling them out of sight in a comprehensive victory that serves a statement against a team viewed as the greatest threat to their title.
Billy Vunipola emerged as their star performer after a tireless shift in which he carried the fight to Wasps time and again to help Saracens move to the top of the table.
It was his older brother Mako who made the first indent on the visitors, however, after the loosehead prop burrowed over from a short-range line-out that was set up by a darting run from Schalk Brits and a brainless penalty by Nathan Hughes.
Billy left his calling card on opposite number Hughes, a pretender to his England number eight jersey, by stripping the ball out of his hands to enable Saracens to launch a counter attack.
It was not until the first quarter had passed that Wasps visited the home 22 for the first time and, although it was only a brief stay, there were signs that the balance of power was shifting.
An attacking line-out ended just short of the line when prop Simon McIntyre was penalised for holding on, but a spin out of the tackle from the influential Ashley Johnson forced Saracens to scramble.
Jimmy Gopperth landed a penalty to reward Wasps' endeavour, but their scrum was taken apart shortly after and Alex Lozowski sent his kick between the uprights.
It was going to take a flash of genius to pierce Saracens' defence and it was delivered in the 38th minute when Cipriani skinned Billy Vunipola with a burst of acceleration, darted down an exposed left wing and fed the scoring pass to Josh Bassett.
Once Kearnan Myall had been helped from the pitch with a bloodied head, the champions issued their response with a series of drives that ended with Richard Wigglesworth sending a fizzing final pass to Mike Ellery.
Cipriani glided into space to set pulses racing early in the second half, but having chipped ahead he lost the foot race with Lozowski.
Gopperth and Lozowski exchanged penalties and, following a 10-minute spell of dominance from Wasps, Saracens began camping deep in opposition territory but failed to score the try to put daylight between the rivals.
Instead, the next points were delivered by the boot of Gopperth and the visitors appeared to be seizing the initiative only for replacement hooker George to burrow over from close range twice in succession.