Saracens maintain unbeaten start to Gallagher Premiership season despite Mako Vunipola red card

Saracens scored five tries at Kingston Park and led 26-0 at half-time; Mako Vunipola received the first red card of his career during the second half; Saracens remain unbeaten and sit top of the Gallagher Premiership table

Last Updated: 09/10/22 7:41pm

Mako Vunipola received the first red card of his career in the second half against Newcastle

Mako Vunipola received the first red card of his career in the second half against Newcastle

Saracens continued their unbeaten start to the Gallagher Premiership season with a comprehensive 34-14 victory at Newcastle, despite Mako Vunipola being sent off midway through the second half .

Vunipola’s red card came after a dangerous clear-out but his departure did not derail Saracens as they scored their fifth try of the afternoon shortly after.

Max Malins notched up a brace during the five-try triumph which is Saracens’ fourth successive victory this season. Falcons were blown away in the first half as they conceded 26 points without reply.

Post-match Saracens head coach Joe Shaw defended Vunipola’s disciplinary record.

“The first thing about Mako is that he is not a dirty player,” Shaw said. “That’s his first red card which, considering the amount of games he’s played, says something. It was reckless but we’ll see what happens in the coming days.”

Saracens took the lead with three minutes on the clock, Alex Lewington winning the foot race to Elliot Daly’s kick in behind to touch down.

Owen Farrell pushed his conversion attempt wide, but his team extended their lead shortly after. Newcastle were punished at scrum time and then Kapeli Pifeleti bounced off a pair of defenders to go over. Farrell successfully added the conversion.

Alex Lozowski grabbed the third try of the afternoon, once again in the left corner as quick hands from Daly allowed him to dive over. Farrell added the extras again from out wide.

Saracens looked a threat every time they came forward and also continued to pin Newcastle deep inside their own half.

A fantastic break from Ivan van Zyl saw the scrum-half dart through and a long pass released Lozowski, but he was denied by a great tackle by the covering Adam Radwan.

Saracens’ bonus point was secured with 10 minutes of the first half remaining, as neat play down the right involving Billy Vunipola and Nick Tompkins allowed Malins to cross. Farrell was again successful with the extras.

The second half continued in much the same way, with Saracens on the front foot and playing some excellent free-flowing rugby, albeit without threatening the scoreboard.

The visiting outfit then suffered their first setback after 54 minutes when Vunipola was given his red card for a dangerous clear-out. However, a minute later they added their fifth try of the afternoon, as Malins rewarded his fellow backs’ excellent handling skills.

Newcastle finally got on the scoresheet after 65 minutes when Tian Schoeman broke clear and found Jamie Blamire. The South African fly-half then added the extras.

A rare error from Saracens handed Newcastle their second try. A knock-on at the back of the line-out was scooped up by Carreras and he scampered in from 30 metres, with Schoeman again kicking the conversion.

Farrell added a late penalty, as Falcons were penalised for not releasing in front of the posts.

Carreras thought he had grabbed his second try for Falcons with a sensational solo effort, but the TMO ruled the ball had gone dead after he raced from inside his own half and chipped over Tompkins.

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