LONDON // Saracens secured their first league victory of the season at the third attempt as they overwhelmed the Newcastle Falcons at Vicarage Road yesterday. The fly-half Glen Jackson kicked 17 points with left-wing Kameli Ratuvou, Kevin Sorrell, Hugh Vyvyan, Rod Penney and Gordon Ross, who also converted the last one, running in second half tries to claim the bonus point.
Newcastle, heavily punished for their indiscipline, were reduced to 13 players midway through the second half when the skipper Phil Dowson and back row colleague Ed Williamson were both yellow-carded in the space of a minute. The influential Jackson contributed 17 of the Saracens points, with four penalties, a drop goal and a conversion - as well as outshining Jonny Wilkinson. Eddie Jones relied on the starting line-up sunk by a late Charlie Hodgson drop goal at Sale last weekend and his faith in the side which lost their opening two matches by three-point margins was amply rewarded. Jackson kicked three penalties in the opening 21 minutes as Newcastle fell foul of referee Dean Richards at the breakdown.
The home side, appearing to actually be trying to play too much rugby, failed to produce the penetration to turn their superiority into tries in the first half. However, Jackson stretched their lead to 15-0 with a pinpoint 30-metre drop goal and a fourth penalty with the last kick of the first-half. The tries followed after the interval as the home pack, with Steve Borthwick - installed as skipper by Jones - and the Welsh international No 8 Michael Owen helped the Saracens pack dominate the visitors on their first appearances for their new club.
However, this defeat leaves the notorious bad travellers Newcastle - who achieved their first Premiership win of the season when they beat Northampton at home last weekend - still without a win on their travels in 2008. The head coach Steve Bates, who took over from John Fletcher last season, has not tasted an away victory in charge since March 2006 with his former team, Border Reivers in the Celtic League.
* PA Sport