Sarries go top despite Borthwick loss

Saracens recovered from the loss of injured England captain Steve Borthwick to move top of the Premiership table with a hard-fought 19-16 win over Gloucester on Sunday.

Gloucester led for much of the match but Schalk Brits scored the decisive try and fly-half Glen Jackson chipped in with 14 points as Saracens, who have now won all four of their matches this season, condemned the visitors to their third consecutive defeat.

The Cherry and Whites had taken a second-minute lead through Rory Lawson’s opportunist try and maintained that advantage until Brits barged over in the 67th minute.

Nicky Robinson landed three penalties and a conversion but he missed with an injury-time drop goal that would have earned Gloucester a draw.

Borthwick was forced off after just 13 minutes with a nasty cut to his left eye following a kick in the face from the Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam and later went to a specialist eye hospital.

He received five stitches and there was no immediate concern for his sight in the right eye, but club medics transported him to London’s Moorfields Hospital for closer examination of his eye-ball and eye-socket.

Saracens have their own video footage of the incident and head coach Mark McCall suspects Azam may have deliberately kicked out at Borthwick.

McCall said: “We have had a quick look at it. We are concerned at the way it occurred and it would appear it may have been a deliberate act of foul play.

“Steve is at hospital to see if there is any damage to his eye-socket.

“It is more than a cut. His eye is completely closed over and at this stage we don’t know how badly damaged it is.

“The video footage we have seen so far would appear to be reasonably clear.

“It is something nobody wants to see. Steve was on the ground and pretty much defenceless in the position he was in.”

Azam claimed he had lashed out with his right leg because his left ankle was being twisted at the bottom of a ruck, but denied deliberately kicking Borthwick.

“I didn’t know I did it. Someone twisted my ankle but I didn’t know I touched him,” he said. “Of course (it was accidental).”

Sailosi Tagicakibau crossed twice as London Irish climbed to second place in the table with a 28-16 win over Wasps.

The Samoan scored tries either side of half-time to take his tally to five tries from three games.

Fly-half Ryan Lamb contributed 15 points as Irish produced another all-action display to underline their status as the Premiership’s great entertainers.

Aided by 11 points from Danny Cipriani, Wasps pulled within one point of the Exiles on 45 minutes, but they eventually fell away and dropped to fourth place in the table.

Toby Booth, the London Irish head coach, saluted Tagicakibau’s match-winning display.

“Sailosi Tagicakibau is a deceptively strong guy. People think he’s just ambling around,” Booth said.

“He has massive power and can break through the first tackle. If you get it wrong against him he will punish you and he showed that again.

“He’s in a rich vein form and it’s good to see him back to his best because he’s an important player for us.”

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