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Saracens edge London Welsh on Henson's debut


Gavin Henson scored 13 of London Welsh's 23 points

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Article Published: Sunday 7 October 2012


Former Champions Saracens edged past Premiership newcomers London Welsh 23-28 at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The match was former Wales international Gavin Henson's premiership debut for London Welsh and he scored 13 points while his team picked up a losing bonus point.

Even though it was Henson's debut Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson was the hero of the day as he scored all of Saracens points.

Hodgson scored a try, conversion and four penalties in the first half while Henson was also impressive with the boot, kicking eight points in the opening period to go alongside Phil Mackenzie's early touchdown.

The visiting stand-off kicked two further three-pointers after the interval before the hosts fought back through a Henson penalty and Tom Arscott's try, but Hodgson sealed the win late on.

Welsh have so far defied the critics who have insisted they were set for an imminent return to the Championship.

Instead, two well-deserved victories, including one away at Sale, have seen the Oxford-based outfit start the season in fine style.

But in the 2011 Premiership champions, they faced yet another difficult challenge and the hosts found themselves down to 14 men after Jon Mills was sin-binned.

It didn't seem to affect them, however, as they took the lead after seven minutes when Mackenzie capitalised on a loose pass from Hodgson.

The winger then kicked through and collected for an easy score under the posts, handing Henson a simple conversion for his first points in Welsh colours.

Sarries' response was immediate when Hodgson kicked a penalty before the same player touched down for a converted try.

The respective stand-offs traded three-pointers to the take the encounter to 13-10 in the visitors' favour, but that lead was extended by their former England international who added two more from the tee.

Henson reduced the arrears to 19-13 at the break, but it was Saracens who looked the most dangerous.

Hodgson continued where he left off and added successive penalties in the second period to take their advantage out to 12 points.

However, the home side's number 10 immediately responded with one of his own and then helped instigate a superb try which was finished off by Arscott.

Hodgson kicked a final three-pointer to confirm the win despite a late onslaught from the hosts.

Final Score London Welsh 23 (13) Saracens 28 (19)

Scorers

London Welsh
Tries: Mackenzie, Arscott
Penalties: Henson 3
Conversions: Henson 2

Saracens
Tries: Hodgson
Penalties: Hodgson 7
Conversions: Hodgson

Match Officials
Referee
: Luke Pearce (7th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Graham Hughes

Teams

London Welsh

15.Tom Arscott, 14, Phil MacKenzie, 13. James Lewis, 12. Hudson Tonga'uiha, 11. Nick Scott, 10. Gavin Henson, 9. Tyson Keats, 1. Frank Montanella, 2. Dan George, 3. Paulica Ion, 4 Jonathan Mills (c), 5. Matt Corker, 6. Daniel Browne, 7. Mike Denbee, 8. Ed Jackson.

Replacements: 16. Greg Bateman, 17. Tom Bristow, 18. Arthur Joly, 19. Kirill Kulemin, Alfie To'oala, 21. Nick Runciman, 22. Ryan Davis, 23. Seb Jewell.

Saracens

15 Chris Wyles ,14 David Strettle ,13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell ,11 James Short ,10 Charlie Hodgson ,9 Richard Wigglesworth ,8 Jackson Wray,7 Andy Saull, 6 Will Fraser ,5 George Kruis , 4 Steve Borthwick (c) ,3 Matt Stevens,2 John Smit ,1 Rhys Gill

Replacements : 16 Jamie George 17 Mako Vunipola 18 Carlos Nieto 19 Mouritz Botha 20 Nick Fenton-wells 21 Neil De Kock 22 Kameli Ratuvou 23 Duncan Taylor

 
 
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