Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
RUGBY: Wellington find Saracens too strong
7:30pm Sunday 9th September 2012 in Sport Latest
Wellington lost 27-17 at Exeter Saracens in Tribute Western Counties West yesterday.
Wellington gave a debut to another new player, Pat Dean in the centre, and a first start to ex colt Joe Dyke at hooker as they decided to go for youth and athleticism rather than size with a second row consisting of Trey Gosling and Chris Kitto who normally plays in the back row.
The sides were evenly balanced in the early stages as neither managed to land the first blow until 20 minutes in when the metronomic boot of full back Mark Nichols converted a penalty five minutes after the home side had missed their first opportunity.
The Wellington defence was proving to be rock solid as the big Saracens backs were chopped down time and again without making much discernible impression.
The visitors then sprung the stranglehold the Exeter side were beginning to impose when a break engineered by centres Luke Brown and Paddy Dean saw them streak out from their own 22 to deep into their opponents half.
The speed of lock Gosling to get up in support was outstanding and he finished the move with the try. Nichols converted and a ten point gap looked comfortable.
Saracens came back strongly however and managed to reduce the deficit with a late penalty converted by fly half Dan Chalmers.
The second half saw a shift in tactics from the home side as they decided to use their superior forward power to good effect and kept the ball close to the breakdown, driving at the Red and Black eight at every opportunity.
The scrums also began to go their way and the visitors began to find it impossible to break the home side’s stranglehold on proceedings but despite this their defence remained solid.
Something had to give eventually however and the pressure of the set scrums and strong recycling resulted in a try from Chalmers which he also converted to level matters.
Saracens took the lead shortly after with a slightly fortunate passage of play as a clearance kick was chased and a home player managed to hoof the ball further to nearly the Welly try-line on the volley.
Wing Henry Amor was aware of the danger and won the chase to the ball which had just stopped short but could only kick it dead to concede the five metre scrum.
The by-now dominant home pack simply put the pressure on and number eight Ali Mason picked from the base and drove over close to the posts with Chalmers converting.
The home side then landed effectively the knockout blow as the Wellington defence failed to deal with possession being run straight back at them from the restart with wing Darren Light running in the try with Chalmers again adding the extras.
It was the Sarrie’s turn to be wrong footed from the kick off as a series of quick rucks resulted in the ball being swung left to wing Ben Gamlin who rounded off the move in the left hand corner. Nichols slotted the kick to reduce the difference to one score.
The introduction of Dave Sims in the second row made a huge difference as the home side were now unable to dominate in the same manner and there followed a number of rolling mauls from the Red and Blacks which were just held up. With time running out the home side managed a final penalty from Chalmers to finish the scoring.
Wellington seemed determined to stick to the tactic of straight running throughout the second half without variation and this allowed their opponents to cover every move.
The occasional kick to the corners would at least have pushed the home side back and turned the defence thereby forcing them to run from the deep but this wasn’t pursued.