Saracens ease past Gloucester
Hosts hit back for big win after early setbacks.
Saracens ended their regular season in impressive fashion by crushing Gloucester 62-12 at Allianz Park.
Neither side had much to play for with Saracens already guaranteed a home semi-final and Gloucester having secured a European Champions Cup place for next season and their mindset clearly on next Friday’s European Challenge Cup final against Cardiff.
Despite this, Gloucester shocked their opponents with two sparkling early tries before the hosts assumed complete control to run out easy winners.
Ben Spencer scored two of the hosts’ tries, Sean Maitland, Liam Williams, Juan Figallo, Maro Itoje, Chris Wyles, and Owen Farrell got the others. There was also a penalty try award with Farrell converting four and adding a penalty. Spencer also kicked two conversions.
Tom Seabrook and David Halaifonua scored Gloucester’s tries, with Billy Twelvetrees converting one.
Gloucester took the lead in the first minute when, from a scrum deep in their half, brilliant handling created a try for Premiership debutant Seabrook.
The hosts immediately suffered a further blow when Schalk Burger limped off on crutches to be replaced by Sione Vailanu.
Saracens soon overcame these setbacks by drawing level with Maitland’s try, after a Schalk Brits’ burst had put the visitors’ defence on the back foot.
Farrell converted with a superb touchline kick before Gloucester scored another excellent try following a 75-metre movement.
Jason Woodward received a pass in his own 22 to power down the left flank and evade two tackles before sending Halaifonua over.
The frenetic nature of the opening quarter continued with a second try for Saracens, with Williams forcing his way over from close range and it was 12-12 after 20 minutes.
The hosts then looked to have regained the lead when Alex Goode carved the defence apart – but the try was ruled out by the TMO for obstruction.
However Farrell was successful with a penalty before Saracens lost Marcelo Bosch through injury, with Alex Lozowski introduced in his place – and it was he who set up Farrell for the home side’s third try for a 22-12 interval lead.
Within a minute of the restart, that advantage had been extended when Gloucester’s errors in their own 22 gifted a try to Figallo before another from Itoje put the hosts out of sight.
Saracens were now rampant as the beleaguered visitors’ defence couldn’t cope with Wyles, a replacement for Williams, scoring the hosts’ sixth.
The home side had scored three tries in the third quarter and were able to relax by withdrawing Farrell, with Goode switching to fly-half and scrum-half replacement Spencer taking the full-back role.
Gloucester lock Jeremy Thrush was sin-binned with 12 minutes remaining as the last quarter dragged but the home side emphasised their total dominance by winning a penalty try for repeated scrum infringements, before Spencer scored two late tries to complete the rout.