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Premiership Rugby: Saracens 45-21 London Irish – Sarries confirm top spot and end Exiles’ play-off hopes

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Alex Goode’s effort in the first half gave Saracens the lead for the first time

try: Goode, Maitland, Dan, Mawi 2 Defect: Farrell 4 Pen: Farrell 4

try: Rogerson, Williams Child: Jackson Pen: Jackson 3

Saracens fought back to beat London Ireland 45–21 to ensure that they would finish the season with a Premiership lead.

The defeat ended Exiles’ hopes of finishing in the top four and confirmed Leicester and Northampton’s place in the play-offs alongside Sarries and Sale.

Ireland took a 10-0 lead, but Alex Goode’s first-half effort gave the hosts a 13-10 lead.

Paddy Jackson’s header shortened the gap to 20-16 after Sean Maitland passed, but Theo Dan and Eroni Mawi (2) sealed it.

Mike Willemse tried to console in the final knocks, but a second defeat in eight games left the Exiles seven points behind Northampton with one game left, while the leaders are now nine points off the semi-imposs attack.

Saracens have won all 10 Premiership games at home this season, but will host one more at StoneX Stadium this campaign – a play-off semi-final against fourth-placed the Saints.

After resting several internationals in their defeat to the Saints last time out – their third loss in five games – Sarries unleashed a strong XV that included returning English pair Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell.

However, the Irish, who have won eight of their previous 10 games in the Premiership, dominated the opening half and took a 10-0 lead when Matt Rogerson rushed in from close range after Jackson’s early penalty.

After a false start, Saracens took control of the game and Farrell’s two penalties closed the gap, while TMO also ruled out a try when Max Malins was judged to have let the ball forward. when it hits the ground.

The Irish looked to have a well-deserved lead at halftime when Rory Jennings unleashed a handball with just eight seconds left.

However, a quick Sarries pass from their own 10m line edged past the Exiles defense as Ben Earl shot from close range and passed it to Goode to run in.

The Irish lost to Rob Simmons with their fifth yellow card of the season within a minute of the second half after a high tackle on Dan, and Sarries capitalized right away, recycling the ball quickly and passing the ball left to Maitland easy to try.

After that, however, Ireland brilliantly managed Simmons’ absence, and Jackson took two more penalties to make it 20-16 when the lockup returned.

The away teams continued to fight hard to keep their top four hopes alive, but Saracens easily equalized when Dan took the lead after a routine catch and drive.

Substitute Mawi made his presence felt in Sarries’ 50th appearance after coming on as Mako Vunipola with 15 minutes remaining.

The Fijian went ahead to score bonus points after the home side conceded Ireland, and shortly afterwards, he overcame two tackles to pass from close range, allowing Farrell to score his own goal. up 20 points.

Saracens rugby director Mark McCall told BBC Radio London:

“There was something interesting in the first 20 minutes because things didn’t go as we wanted, and we were very calm and composed in the way we handled the problem and I like the way we got back into the game.

“We were top of the league in the regular season, which doesn’t mean anything in many ways, but it means something in terms of consistency. It was a really good effort by the team to achieve that. there.

“Everybody is resting and getting ready for work and we have three weeks to do what needs to be done. We need to use that time wisely.

“Today was really important for us because we needed that to get to the semi-finals. It was important that we played well, not for anything else, but for ourselves.”

London’s Irish rugby director Declan Kidney told BBC Radio London:

“We started and played the way we knew we could, but maybe there was some dynamic change around that time and Saracens has the experience to not get mad.

“There are important moments in every game and they have managed to get more important moments than us.

“Today is one of those days where you get hit in the nose and how we react to that is what matters.

“We entered the second final game of the season with five teams competing for the top four. Unfortunately we didn’t make it through, but we need more and more experience to get through. learn.”

The Saracens: Goode, Malins, Lozowski, Tompkins, Maitland, Farrell (c), van Zyl; M Vunipola, Dan, Riccioni, Itoje, Hunter-Hill, Isikwe, Earl, Wray.

Replace: Lewis, Mawi, Judge, Tizard, Knight, de Haas, Hartley, Harris.

London Irish: Wheel Loaders, Cinti, B Janse van Rensburg, Jennings, Hassell-Collins, Jackson, White; Fischetti, Creevy, Hoskins, Ratuniyarawa, Simmons, Rogerson (c), Pearson, Fa’aso’o.

Replace: Willemse, Haffar, Chawama, Munga, Gonzalez, Cunningham-South, O’Sullivan, Arundell.


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