Aviva Premiership: Saracens start new season with bonus-point win
Saracens sent out a warning to the rest of the Aviva Premiership with a 42-20 thrashing of London Irish at Twickenham.
Last Updated: 07/09/13 5:03pm
England Under-20 hooker Jamie George, deputising for the suspended Schalk Brits in the scrum, crossed twice in the first half to help Saracens establish a comprehensive 21-10 half-time lead.
Fellow front rower Maku Vunipola came off the bench to touch down before Sarries left it late to seal the bonus point, Chris Ashton going over on the final play of the contest.
Owen Farrell, commanding throughout, kept the scoreboard ticking over with 22 points to ensure the outcome was never in doubt.
London Irish battled bravely throughout and did manage a try in each half, Kieran Low and Marland Yarde the men to score, but they were always second best against their capital rivals.
Saracens broke the deadlock with a Farrell penalty before George ran on to a flat ball from close range and easily shrugged off a feeble tackle by Sailosi Tagicakibau.
The two teams traded penalty to leave the score at 13-3 before George and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth combined at a line-out to set up the former for his second of the afternoon.
Irish responded immediately with blindside flanker Low taking David Paice's pass and running half the pitch to crash over, evading tackles en route to scoring right by the uprights.
Humphreys converted, but Farrell was doing a marvellous job of keeping the scoreboard ticking over as he slotted penalties either side of the break.
The rampaging Mako Vunipola, fresh from his exploits with the British and Irish Lions during the summer tour to Australia, proved too much for Irish to handle in the final half-hour, and in one move he secured the turnover before popping up on the final pass to power over the try line.
Lions prop Matt Stevens was sin-binned for a shoulder charge and Irish capitalised on the extra player through winger Yarde, who finished off a pre-planned scrum move that worked to perfection.
Yet it was Saracens who had the last word, securing a full five-point haul when Ashton was adjudged to have grounded the ball over the line by the TMO.