Saracens vs Exeter Chiefs 16.02.13

Posted on: 09 September 2014

Saracens made a fairytale start to life at Allianz Park as Mako Vunipola inspired the Men in Black to a bonus-point victory over Exeter Chiefs on Saturday.

9,999 fans watched Vunipola thunder over for two tries with fellow prop, Matt Stevens, and Charlie Hodgson also touching down to help secure a bonus-point victory.

It was the first Premiership match to be played on artificial turf and the contest lived up to its heavyweight pre-match billing with the revolutionary new surface making for a fast-paced, exciting game of rugby.

The pre-match nerves were evident early on as Saracens missed a couple of good early opportunities out wide. Hodgson also missed three penalties before his opposite number Gareth Steenson slotted one at the other end to give the visitors the lead. The Saracens fly-half redeemed himself shortly afterwards with the game’s opening try and his successful conversion gave the hosts to a 7-3 lead at half-time.

If the first half was below par , Saracens stormed out of the blocks in the second half and quickly stretched their lead to 17-3 after Stevens touched down. The points came thick and fast after that, with Vunipola powering over for his brace to complete a memorable win.

Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall, was delighted with his team’s performance and hailed the impact of the new pitch and extraordinary atmosphere. He said: “It’s great to start like that, great to get four tries at our new home.

“The pitch feels good, and there’s a temptation in certain situations where you might kick, where it just feels right to run. It encourages a lot of ball-in-hand play.

“We’ve been at Vicarage Road for the last couple of years and the atmosphere was nothing like that – the crowd really got behind the team and the players enjoyed it.”

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Next game (Premiership): Leicester Tigers v Saracens at Welford Road Stadium, at 15:00 on Saturday 23rd February 2013.