Saracens 42-17 Treviso

John Smit
Smit made the move to Saracens from Super 15 side the Sharks

Premiership champions Saracens racked up an emphatic bonus-point victory over Italian side Benetton Treviso in their first Heineken Cup match of the season.

Owen Farrell was the source of all 16 of the hosts' first-half points as he converted his own 23rd-minute try.

David Strettle, Chris Wyles and Ernst Joubert crossed for Sarries as their opponents tired after the interval.

World Cup winner John Smit burrowed over on his Saracens debut before Gonzalo Padro's late consolation.

Smit, a veteran of a record 111 Springbok matches, was introduced off the bench in place of his compatriot Schalk Brits midway through the second half.

The first-half action had been delayed for 10 minutes while another of the home side's South Africans, Justin Melck, left the field with an initially worrying injury.

Eight medics were required to get the replacement back row onto a stretcher and off the pitch, but happily the 28-year-old appeared on his feet on the sidelines before the end of the match.

With Charlie Hodgson starting at 10, Owen Farrell was paired with Brad Barritt in the centres and kept the scoreboard ticking over in the first half.

The 20-year-old landed two penalties before winning the chase for Hodgson's beautifully weighted kick ahead and touching down for the opening try.

He converted his own effort and slotted another penalty in the final minute of the half with Willem de Waal's kick the only response from the Italians.

The home side accelerated away in the second half as hooker Brits drew the final defender before slipping the ball back inside to winger Strettle for the second try, increasing the lead to 21-3.

Hodgson and Farrell combined to create space for Wyles to hold off the cover and sneak in for a third before Ben Spencer's flat pass put Joubert over to wrap up the additional point for the four-try victory.

With victory assured, Saracens allowed the visitors a late rally as Italy international Alberto Scarbi and team-mate Gonzalo Padro scored tries in the final six minutes.

In between their efforts, Smit's precise throw picked out his jumper in the line-out and the 33-year-old emerged from beneath a heap of bodies to claim a push-over score on his first outing for the club.

Saracens rugby director Mark McCall: "Owen Farrell deserved to be named man of the match, but I was very impressed also by Ben Spencer, who came here only three months ago from Cambridge Rugby Club on a training contract.

"It was initially to make up the numbers, but he is now on a contract beyond the end of this season and has just turned 19.

"That was his first taste of European rugby yet he looked comfortable in all that he did.

"When Richard Wigglesworth's injury ruled him out for the rest of the season, we decided not to sign any other cover at scrum-half. That's a measure of how well Ben has performed since arriving."


Saracens: Wyles, Strettle, Farrell, Barritt, Short, Hodgson, De Kock; Gill, Brits, Stevens, Borthwick, Smith, Brown, Saull, Joubert.

Replacements: Melck for Saull (2), Spencer for de Kock (18), Carstens for Gill (56), Nieto for Stevens (56), Smit for Brits (58), Goode for Wyles (61), Powell for Barritt (66), Kruis for Borthwick (65).

Sin Bin: Brits (27).

Benetton Treviso: Nitoglia, De Jager, Benvenuti, Sgarbi, Williams, De Waal, Semenzato; Rizzo, Vidal, Cittadini, A Pavanello, Van Zyl, Vermaak, Zanni, Barbieri.

Replacements: Bernabo for Vidal (49), Padro for A Pavanello (49), Vosawai for Barbieri (49), Rouyet for Rizzo (52), Di Santo for Cittadini (63), Burton for De Jager (75). Not Used: Sbaraglini, Botes.

Sin Bin: Vidal (34).

Att: 5,077

Ref: John Lacey (Ireland).

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