Match Report: Coventry 12-47 Saracens Men
Saracens ended pre-season in style, running in seven tries in a 47-12 victory over Coventry at Butts Park Arena.
Alex Lewington scored a hat-trick in the Midlands and was joined on the scoresheet by the solo scores of Juan Pablo Socino, Tim Swinson, Vincent Koch and Tom Whiteley.
Fly-half Manu Vunipola nudged 12 points from the tee.
Under the red sky in the Coventry night, it was early delight for Saracens who like last weekend took an early lead.
Aled Davies kept the ball moving quickly for a number of phases and Socino punched through hole to score on the stretch.
Cov enjoyed a fair amount of possession for a sustained period thereafter, but Sarries were consistent in banging them back in defence, preventing any score.
That was until referee George Selwood levelled the scoreboard by awarding the hosts a penalty try after Mark McCall’s men were alleged to have pulled down a maul in the red zone.
Wings Lewington and Rotimi Segun went close to combining for an immediate response, however an unfortunate bounce from the former’s kick meant the ball eluded the latter.
A second Lewington punt caused havoc deep in home territory and after Coventry gifted control back to Saracens, Elliott Obatoyinbo and Sean Reffell ran smart lines before Swinson crossed from a yard.
Returning from a spell on the sideline after being sacrificed due to Koch’s sin bin, Segun worked his magic to power up the middle 30 metres to keep the Men in Black on the front foot ahead of the interval.
It proved effective as Springbok Koch made amends by getting on the scoresheet, powering over with a little help from a couple of latchers.
The second half saw the introduction of Ralph Adams-Hale. The loosehead had been out since November 2019 with a serious ankle injury and entered the fray at the break, performing solidly in his first scrum back.
Coventry did manage to get the first points of the half. Centre Andy Forsyth wriggled free on the outside to make the score 21-12.
Replacement Andy Christie made an unbelievable goose-stepping break around Coventry wing Rob Knox as Saracens searched to extend their advantage in the second 40 and that moment arrived just past the hour.
Ben Harris made the initial dent on the left with Harry Sloan in support before Joel Kpoku rampaged up the middle offloading outrageously out the back door to Callum Hunter-Hill. The Scottish lock almost went over himself only to be hauled down inches from the whitewash and scrum-half Whiteley was quick in to snipe under the sticks.
As several changes to personnel came thick and fast to slow the contest down, starter Lewington snuck in for a late treble.
For the first, he retrieved the ball at the back of the fast-moving maul before diving over and the second was a trademark sprint into the corner from outside the 22, doing well to evade covering defenders.
The former Leicester Tiger sealed his hat-trick following a great burst from Sam Crean who combined with Harry Sloan to set the speed merchant away.
It rounded off an accomplished performance by Saracens who begin the 2020/21 Championship season on the road at Cornish Pirates on Saturday 6th March.