Full marks as Saracens blow Blues away
CHAMPIONSHIP CUP REPORT: Saracens maintained their 100 percent record in this season’s Champions Cup.
They defeated Cardiff Blues 51-24 thanks to a tremendous second-half performance.
Two-time European champions Saracens began the match in terrific fashion, with centres Brad Barritt and Alex Lozowski combining brilliantly to put scrumhalf Richard Wigglesworth through to score the games’ first try.
But the visitors fought back superbly and they went into the break 18-13 ahead thanks to tries from Blaine Scully and Matthew Morgan – whose sensational solo effort built anticipation of a shock at Allianz Park.
However, the second half was a different story for the home side, with Ben Earl’s introduction proving crucial as the back-rower scored two tries in a matter of minutes, giving Saracens back the lead.
Saracens kept Cardiff under the pump and the pressure caused Ollie Robinson to be sent to the bin, which gave Sean Maitland the chance to cross over for his first try of the afternoon and give Saracens their try-scoring bonus point.
The Scottish international did not have to wait long for his second, courtesy of good work from the excellent Alex Goode to give Maitland an easy run in, in the corner.
Replacements Ben Spencer and Christian Judge added two more tries to take their points tally to more than 50 for the match but Cardiff did get a late consolation through back-rower Robinson to finish the match 51-25.
Returning from injury Mako Vunipola was awarded Man of the Match.
“We were a bit more accurate in the second half, the wind played a factor in the first half and Cardiff took advantage of our inaccuracies,” Vunipola said.
“We have good leaders in this group and they spoke well and we knew exactly what we needed to do. Ben Earl made a big impact in the second half.”
On returning to the fold: “It’s never nice to miss games and as a player, we love to play. My family are happy I’m back here as I’m not moaning so much.
A very impressive performance from @Saracens 👊
A bonus-point victory over @cardiff_blues as they continue their undefeated run 🙌
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 9, 2018
Tries: Wigglesworth, Earl 2, Maitland 2, Spencer, Judge
Cons: Farrell 5
Pens: Farrell 2
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Scully, Morgan, Robinson
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 2
Yellow card: Olly Robinson (Cardiff Blues, 56)
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Christian Judge, 19 Dom Day, 20 Calum Clark, 21 Ben Earl, 22 Ben Spencer, 23 Nick Tompkins.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Harri Millard, 12 Jarrod Evans, 11 Jason Harries, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Lloyd Williams (c), 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Seb Davies, 4 George Earle, 3 Dillon Lewis, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Nick Williams, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Garyn Smith.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Cyril Lafon (France), Stephane Boyer (France)
TMO: Denis Grenouillet (France)