Thursday, October 18The Voice of London

Saracens 44 Scarlets 26: Sarries comfortably win but left to reflect on Itoje injury

By Sajid Hassan. Subbed by Daniel Khalili-Tari

SNAPCHAT STORY – CORRECTIONS – I was watching the match live and using Snapchat and so there are two errors in the video. Ben Spencer was put in the SIN bin not the SUN bin. And it’s Chris Wyles, not WHYLES.

Saracens made it two games and two wins in the European Rugby Champions Cup (EPCR) on Saturday evening. Scoring five tries at home against a rough and ready Scarlets team. Not only a win, Saracens, secured a bonus point to put them at the top of their pool.

Welsh team Scarlets arrived at Allianz Park for round two of the EPCR to face the reigning champions, who in round one gave French side Toulon their first-ever home loss in the competition.

But, just after the second half resumed, Sarries’ back row forward Maro Itoje, 21, came off prematurely due to an arm injury. Itoje, trapped his hand while in a tackle and had to watch from the sidelines for the remainder of the game. He was taken to hospital soon after the match ended.

Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall, 48, said: “Maro came off with a sore hand, [it] needs to be examined and x-rayed.”

England coach Eddie Jones, now has even more to think about for the upcoming autumn international. Jones, has to replace Itoje and his second row partner George Kruis, who didn’t play in yesterday’s game due to an ankle injury. The Sarries’ duo have added to the growing list of England team members unable to play. At the start of October, a group of players injured themselves at an England training camp. Jones, will name his side on October 26th.

Saracens, unsurprisingly, used their elegant offloading skills to push past five tries. Mako Vunipola scored the first try of the night, with rookie Nick Tompkins who replaced Brad Barritt prior to the game, who was suffering from a stiff neck. Tompkins broke through the middle to extend their lead. At the end of the first half, Saracens led 20-12.

In the second half the north London team continued in good form, scoring another three tries, all converted by the returning Owen Farrell. Wingers, Marcelo Bosch and Chris Wyles were rewarded for their persistence – scoring two well-worked tries to numb Scarlets’ attack. However, the opposition came back late, showing glimpses of skill with a smart try from a lineout five metres from the try line. Aaron Shingler, took the ball and scored on the blindside. Michael Rhodes, scored the fifth try of the night to put the game out of sight for the visitors.

If you didn’t watch the game, the score line wasn’t as one-sided as you may think. From the first minute, Scarlets attacked Saracens’ defence and the kicking game from Scarlets’ Rhys Patchell, gave them a way in until the last 10 minutes. Saracens were at time ill-disciplined and gifted Scarlets the majority of their 26 points. Food for thought for Saracens. Saracens continue in the Premiership next week against Leicester Tigers and round three of the EPCR takes place in December against Sale Sharks.