Saracens see off London Irish to stretch winning run
Defending champions Saracens came from behind to defeat a dogged London Irish 24-14 at Allianz Park and maintain their winning streak in this season's Aviva Premiership.
The Exiles, who remain winless this season, are one of just three Premiership teams to have defeated Saracens on their own turf and took a 7-3 lead into the break after a superb try finished by Aseli Tikoirotuma.
Owen Farrell, uncharacteristically wayward from the tee, had struck a penalty for Sarries in the first half and added another one shortly after the break.
Saracens then found the tryline through flanker Jackson Wray, with Tikoirotuma in the bin, and it looked ominous for the visitors when Alex Goode crossed on the hour.
Leo Halavatau's converted effort cut the deficit to four points but a further two Farrell penalties made the result safe for Sarries.
Ernst Joubert thought he had opened the scoring for Saracens eight minutes in after some excellent work from Mike Ellery, only for referee Greg Garner to pull play back for a line-out as the winger had one foot in touch.
Farrell then opened the scoring for Sarries with a simple kick from just inside the 22-metre line after the Exiles were penalised in the scrum.
However, the England fly-half lacked his usual clinical touch in the first half, missing two penalties in a matter of minutes which were well within his range.
Midway through the half Duncan Taylor looked to capitalise on Chris Noakes' poor handling but his clever chip just raced away from the on-rushing Ellery.
Moments later the Exiles took the lead after Tikoirotuma cut an excellent line off Brendan McKibbin and the Fiji international used his power and pace to score his first try for the club.
London Irish went on to show some real resilience in defence, thwarting a spell of heavy Saracens pressure to enter half-time five points to the good.
Saracens spent the first five minutes of the second half camped in the Irish 22 but had to settle for a penalty, which Farrell converted with ease.
Tikoirotuma was sent to the sin bin in the 50th minute for a high tackle on Chris Ashton and the home side immediately took advantage of the extra man as Wray crossed the line after a great catch-and-drive from the pack.
Goode raced over soon after as Saracens finally started to turn pressure into points, with Farrell adding the extra two.
The visitors reaped the rewards of kicking for touch rather than going for goal when, in the 65th minute, Halavatau crossed the line to keep his side within touching distance.
But although Saracens were put under pressure in the closing stages, Irish's discipline cost them and Farrell slotted two further penalties to seal the victory.