Saracens ease to victory over Zebre

English Premiership leaders Saracens eased to a five try 10-39 Heineken Cup
victory over Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprile on Saturday.

Saracens went to the top of Heineken Cup Pool 3 with the bonus-point victory.

George Kruis, Ernst Joubert and Chris Wyles all crossed before Chris Ashton
scored twice in the space of eight minutes to wrap up the victory.

Samu Vunisa claimed a late consolation score for Zebre, but, from the moment
Charlie Hodgson kicked Saracens ahead in the sixth minute, the former English
Champions rarely looked likely to surrender the lead.

Zebre were made to pay for basic errors deep inside their own half when a knock-on
handed Saracens an attacking scrum from which second-row Kruis eventually crashed
over from five metres out on 13 minutes.

Hodgson converted and added a second penalty before another set-piece move
saw Saracens claim their second try.

No8 Joubert stormed over from a well-worked lineout and, despite Hodgson missing
the conversion from out wide, Saracens led 18-0 after 24 minutes.

Opposite number Vunisa was shown a yellow card for a professional foul moments
later and Alex Goode made the most of the advantage. The full-back mounted a
counter attack and Ashton’s pass handed Wyles a simple finish in the corner.

Saracens’ pressure mounted and Mauro Bergamasco joined Vunisa in the sin bin
to leave Zebre down to 13 men for three minutes before half-time.

Against the odds, Gonzalo Garcia kicked the first points of the second half,
though Saracens still threatened. David Strettle saw his try ruled out for obstruction
earlier in the move before Ashton made sure of the bonus point on 61 minutes.

The England wing then grabbed a second just moments later after good work by
Strettle and Goode. Owen Farrell converted for his first points of the game.

Zebre finished the stronger, however, and, after Saracens replacement Duncan
Taylor was binned for not releasing the tackled player, Vunisa stepped through
a gap in midfield and galloped 50 metres for a rousing score that gave the home
crowd something to cheer.

Final Score Zebre 10 (0) Saracens 39 (25)

Scorers

Zebre
Tries – Vunisa
Pen -Garcia
Con – Orquera
Drop –

Saracens
Tries – Kruis, Joubert, Wyles, Ashton (2)
Pen – Hodgson (2)
Con – Hodgson (3), Farrell
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee:
Pascal Gauzere (France),
Assistant ref: Patrick Pechambert (France),
Assistant ref: Jean-Luc Rebollai (),
TMO: Daniel Irazoqui (France),
Citing Commissioner: Jean-Claude Legendre (France)

Teams

Zebre: Gullo Palazzani; Leonardo Sarto, Kameli Ratuvou, Gonzalo
Garcia, Giambattista Venditti; Tommaso Iannone, Alberto Chillon; Salvatore Perugini,
Tommaso D’Apice , Luciano Leibson, Quintin Geldenhuys, Marco Bortolami (c),
Mauro Bergamasco, Nicola Cattina, Samu Vunisa

Replacements: Andrea Manici, Andrea de Marchi, Luca Redolfini, Mike Van Vuren,
Emiliano Caffini, Luciano Orquera, Roberto Quartaroli, Giiulio Toniolatti

Saracens: Alex Goode; Chris Ashton, Chris Wyles, Duncan Taylor,
David Strettle; Charlie Hodgson, Neil de Kock; Richard Barrington, Schalk Brits,
James Johnston, Steve Borthwick (c), George Kruis, Billy Vunipola, Kelly Brown,
Ernst Joubert

Replacements: Jamie George, Jared Saunders , Matt Stevens, Eoin Sheriff, Jackson
Wray, Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell, Marcelo Bosch

With thanks to ERC Rugby.

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