George enjoys winning return as Daly apologises for careless hands
A tale of contrasting fortunes for England team-mates Jamie George and Elliot Daly ended with Saracens remaining the Premiership’s only unbeaten side.
While the home hooker put in a tryscoring man-of-the-match performance in a rather sloppy and error-strewn game, Daly will be remembered for a blind pass intercepted by Nick Isiekwe. The subsequent score 10 minutes from time added gloss to Saracens’ win – their ninth in succession in the league, a run that has moved them two points clear at the top.
Afterwards, Wasps director of rugby Dai Young refused to be overly critical of Daly, who had switched from fullback under Eddie Jones to his preferred position at outside centre.
Instead Young emphasised his frustration at his side’s collective errors in second half after their fairly dogged attacking effort in the first. “Elliot came in and apologised to the players. We didn’t lose the game through that mistake but it doesn’t help. We were under pressure to try and play and mistakes happen,” he said.
Wasps failed to cross the tryline all match. On his side’s endeavour to press a well-organised Saracens defence in the first half only for players such as Michele Campagnaro to fritter away attacking opportunities, Young used a colourful analogy.
“You can’t fault the effort but that’s like tapping the milkman on the back for delivering the milk,” he said. “But it’s frustrating when you see some basic errors that don’t allow you to play the rugby you want to play. I’m not happy with many parts of our game.”
Alex Lozowski channelled the disappointment of being cut from the England squad against Australia into a flawless 19-point performance. Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall described his efforts from the kicking tee, from which he struck five penalties and two conversions, as “beautiful”.
On the decision to rest Owen Farrell while the likes of George and Maro Itoje returned a week after England duty, McCall said: “Everybody is a bit different really and everybody has an individual plan which they have for the next six weeks.
“In Owen’s case, it is not just the playing time he had but the responsibility. We thought it would be a good idea to get him away from rugby for a week, to keep him fresh, more mentally than physically.”
Wasps looked like they were tiring after Daly slotted the second of his two long-range penalties, allowing Saramoment cens to gain territory. When Lozowski’s fourth penalty sailed over, their confidence appeared to fade.
Once George scored the first try on the hour from a pass from Alex Goode, a comeback looked beyond the visitors. Wasps’ attacking threat was further dithe minished by the injury to Nathan Hughes, who went off winded from falling awkwardly on the ball at the bottom of a ruck.
McCall was happy with how his side reacted despite remaining without a try for so long. “I was most pleased by how we didn’t get frustrated by the scoreboard not reflecting the possession and territory we had,” he said.
“A lot of that was down to how well Wasps defended in the first half and we couldn’t get the quick ball we wanted.”
With Daly’s loose pass after he had collected a kick from the Wasps line, Isiekwe galloped over and Lozowski’s conversion completed the scoring.
Scores 3-0 Lozowski pen; 3-3 Daly pen; 6-3 Lozowski pen; 9-3 Lozowski pen; 9-6 Daly pen; 12-6 Lozowski pen; 17-6 George try; 19-6 Lozowski con; 22-6 Lozowski pen; 27-9 Isiekwe try; 29-6 Lozowski con; Saracens M Gallagher (N Tompkins 68); S Maitland, A Lozowski, B Barritt (capt), A Lewington; A Goode, R Wigglesworth (B Spencer 70); T Lamositele (R Adams-Hale 55), J George (T Woolstencroft 70), V Koch (J Figallo 55), M Itoje (D Day 70), W Skelton (N Isiekwe 55), M Rhodes, C Clark (B Earl 62), J Wray. Wasps W Le Roux; R Neal, E Daly (capt), M Le Bourgeois (J de Jongh 73), M Campagnaro; L Sopoaga (B Searle 61), C Hampson (W Porter 68); B Harris (Z Zhvania 61), A Harris (G Oghre 61), K Brookes (M Daniels 61), W Rowlands, K Myall, B Shields (B Morris 63), N Carr, N Hughes (C Matthews 68). Referee JP Doyle.
Back with a bang: Jamie George goes over for the try that helped extend Saracens’ winning streak