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Saracens

  • Penalty, Strettle, Tomkins, Fraser,
    Penalty goals: Hodgson (3),
    Conversions: Hodgson (3),
35 - 14

London Welsh

  • Stegmann,
    Penalty goals: Henson (2),
    Drop goals: Henson,
  • Aviva Premiership
  • 3rd Mar 2013
  • KO 14:15
  • Ground: Vicarage Road
  • Att: 10,000

Aviva Premiership: Saracens beat London Welsh to go top

Last updated: 4th March 2013  

Richard Wigglesworth of Saracens beats the tackle from Tom Bristow of London Welsh

Sarries' Richard Wigglesworth evades the tackle of Tom Bristow

Schalk Brits of Saracens

Schalk Brits makes some hard yards for Saracens

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Saracens took full advantage of Harlequins' slip-up on Saturday by beating London Welsh 35-14 to return to the top of the Aviva Premiership table.

The champions were shocked by Exeter at the Stoop but their closest rivals rarely looked likely to make the same mistake against the struggling Exiles.

The visitors battled bravely - particularly given the upheaval they have suffered off the pitch this week - but Saracens had too much pace and power for them, particularly as the game wore on.

But it says everything for Welsh's spirit that even with the game long gone, they were defending their line ferociously before David Strettle went in for the bonus-point try seven minutes from time.

Saracens had to settle for two Charlie Hodgson penalties in a closely-fought opening quarter, but despite being on the back foot throughout, it was Welsh who came up with the first try on 26 minutes.

A slick handling move took the ball 50 metres upfield and when it was shipped the width of the pitch, Seb Stegmann slalomed his way over in the left corner on his debut, although Gavin Henson's conversion attempt rebounded off a post.

Saracens continued to play at a pace that Welsh were struggling to cope with and on the half hour Phil MacKenzie was sin-binned for cynically slowing up play.

Moments later a Saracens maul rumbled towards the line, it was dragged down and Welsh suffered the double blow of a penalty try and a second man in the bin - this time prop Tom Bristow.

But the visitors at least survived to the half having conceded just a further Hodgson penalty, with Henson's drop-goal on the whistle cutting the deficit to 16-11.

Initiative

The second half belonged almost exclusively to Saracens as they seized the initiative early with Joel Tomkins completing a scrum move with a powerful finish.

Hodgson converted but Henson's penalty kept Welsh in touch before the try of the game settled it, as David Strettle's step, and a superb offload from Schalk Brits put Will Fraser in for a brilliant one-handed finish at the corner.

James Short just failed to repeat the feat in the opposite corner as Stegmann's tackle forced him into touch, but after incessant pressure on the Welsh line, Strettle burst through a gap in the defence to score the bonus-point try.

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Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Saturday 27th December
Aviva Premiership
14:00Bath vs Exeter
14:00Sale Sharks vs Leicester Tigers
15:00Newcastle Falcons vs Saracens
16:30Harlequins vs Northampton
Sunday 28th December
14:30Gloucester vs Wasps
Friday 2nd January
19:45Northampton vs Newcastle Falcons
Saturday 3rd January
14:00Saracens vs London Irish
16:30Exeter vs Gloucester
Sunday 4th January
14:00Wasps vs Sale
14:00Leicester Tigers vs Bath
14:30London Welsh vs Harlequins
Friday 9th January
19:45Gloucester vs Saracens
Saturday 10th January
14:00Sale vs Northampton
15:00Bath vs Wasps
15:15Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers
Sunday 11th January
14:00Newcastle Falcons vs London Welsh
15:00London Irish vs Exeter
Saturday 14th February
15:00Leicester vs Gloucester
15:00Northampton vs London Irish
15:00Exeter vs Newcastle
Sunday 15th February
14:00Wasps vs Harlequins
14:30London Welsh vs Sale
15:00Saracens vs Bath
Friday 20th February
20:00Newcastle vs Wasps
Saturday 21st February
14:00Sale vs Saracens

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Phil Edwards

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