Saracens miss out on record but stay clear at top of table

SARACENS director of rugby Mark McCall signalled a job well done after watching his side overcome Harlequins and extend their lead at the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table on Saturday.

McCall took his team into the all-London clash at the Stoop looking to become the first top-flight team to begin a campaign with four bonus-point victories.

They ultimately came up short with only England wing Chris Ashton crossing the try line in the second-half but a conversion and five penalties from Owen Farrell handed them a 22-12 win, leaving McCall very encouraged with his side’s start.

“In many ways that was the most satisfying win we’ve had this season,” he said. “Gloucester, Bath and Quins in a row was a tough ask, but it’s been the manner of the way we started – we’ve played some decent rugby.

“We’ve got off to a flyer, but it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you end. We just always want to be there or thereabouts and put ourselves in the frame for the top four, but we never look too far ahead.”

Harlequins registered all of their points before the break through the boot of fly-half Nick Evans but they hardly troubled Saracens in the second half, falling to their second defeat of the season, both of which have come at home. The result saw the 2012 Premiership champions slide to fifth place.

London Irish failed to recover from a disappointing first half against Bath as they suffered a 33-18 defeat at the Rec. The hosts scored all of their points, including five tries, before the break with former Exile Jonathan Joseph also touching down.

All of Irish’s points came from Shane Geraghty, who scored a try in each half as well as two penalties, but it was not enough for the visitors, who lie 10th in the table. Bath sit fourth.

London Wasps gained their first win of the season as they saw off bottom-of-the-table Worcester Warriors 32-16 at Adams Park.

Christian Wade, Matt Mullan, Jake Cooper-Woolley and Guy Thompson all crossed for Wasps, with Andy Goode and Joe Carlisle adding penalties to see their side pull away in the second-half and climb to ninth.

“It’s important to get that first victory because we lost by one point, four points and four points,” said director of rugby Dai Young.

“Today I felt pretty much in control all game, the frustrating part was taking a while to put the distance between the two teams so we could relax a little bit. The forwards set a real foundation at the scrum and our attack was as fluid as it can be.”

On Friday night Wales wing George North scored his first Northampton try as the Saints notched a bonus-point 33-14 win over Sale. Luther Burrell, George Pisi, Lee Dickson and Phil Dowson also crossed.

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