Wasps sneak past Saracens
By Ben Blackmore
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Wasps made a winning start to the season as they beat Saracens 21-19.
Guinness Premiership, Twickenham, Saturday September 2Wasps made a winning start to the new Premiership season, but were made to battle all the way against Saracens as they claimed a hard-fought 21-19 at Twickenham.
Sarries started brightly and were leading at the interval, but Wasps ground them down in the second period and ultimately came away with the spoils.
Ian McGeechan's men were on the board first through Ayoola Erinle - an early substitute for the injured Fraser Waters - after nine minutes. The winger barged his way through some less than convincing defending to touch down with Dave Walder's conversion making it 7-0.
Sarries only trailed for four minutes, Glen Jackson fed the supporting Ben Johnston who touched down under the posts for 7-7.
Jackson then edged Sarries ahead with a long-distance penalty only for Walder to respond in kind shortly afterwards.
Another successful kick from Jackson saw Saracens reassume the lead, but Wasps scored their second try of the afternoon just past the half-hour mark.
A powerful rolling maul ended with second row Tom Palmer bulldozing his way over the line from close range to claim a debut try.
However, with Walder missing the chance to add the extras, Saracens ensured they held the narrowest of advantages at the break as Jackson slotted another penalty - following a reckless challenge from Dan Leo that saw him sin-binned - to make the scoreline 16-15.
The lead was extended to four points as Jackson made it five kicks from five with another penalty on 49 minutes, but Wasps then upped their game as the weather began to close in at Twickenham.
An enterprising break from England star Josh Lewsey helped earn a penalty that Walder duly kicked on 62 minutes and another barely two minutes later saw Wasps take a lead they were not to surrender.
Saracens - who did claim a losing bonus point - fought hard in the closing stages, but Wasps always had matters in hand and held on to clinch what was in the end a deserved victory.