Super Maro helps Saracens see off Gloucester

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Maro Itoje scored two tries as Saracens issued a statement of intent in their Gallagher Premiership title defence by dismantling Gloucester 38-15.

The champions wrapped up the bonus point with almost half an hour to spare, Itoje crossing twice and David Strettle, Sean Maitland and Alex Lozowski also touching down in a procession at Allianz Park.

Danny Cipriani’s hopes of leaving his mark on the clash three days after being omitted from England’s latest training squad were ended by Saracens’ overwhelming superiority.

Saracens v Gloucester Rugby – Gallagher Premiership – Allianz Park
Saracens’ Maro Itoje, centre, scored two tries in the win over Gloucester (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Gloucester made an imposing start to the season with Cipriani dictating play behind a muscular pack, but they were battered into submission here in a chastening afternoon.

It was a fitting way for scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth to celebrate setting a new Premiership appearance record of 266, eclipsing the milestone previously held by Steve Borthwick.

Leinster Rugby v Saracens – European Rugby Champions Cup – Quarter Final – Aviva Stadium
Saracens’ Richard Wigglesworth set a new appearance record on Sunday (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Saracens had amassed a 10-point lead inside seven minutes, Strettle invited to run in an easy try after Maitland was waved through midfield by a flailing Henry Trinder.

Farrell drew first blood in the fly-half duel with a penalty and conversion, but Cipriani became increasingly involved as Gloucester’s pack began to rumble forward.

Leinster Rugby v Saracens – European Rugby Champions Cup – Quarter Final – Aviva Stadium
Saracens’ George Kruis is back (Lorraine O’Sullivan/PA)

Saracens were more effective in possession and were the next to score after a Maitland turnover enabled Farrell to launch an up and under that was missed by Liam Williams but hit the crossbar and fell for Itoje to score.

Gloucester were coming apart at the seams as they lost back rows Ruan Ackermann and Lewis Ludlow during a costly passage of play close to their line that ended with Itoje being driven over for his second try.

Cardiff Blues v Gloucester – Challenge Cup Final – San Mames Stadium
Ruan Ackermann went off on a bad day for Gloucester (Adam Davy/PA)

The rout continued when Williams escaped down the right wing, fooled two Gloucester defenders with a clever show before feeding Lozowski the scoring pass.

Mark Atkinson dummied his way through to stem the flow of Saracens points and Sharples produced a great finish in the left corner to claim the visitors’ second try in added time.

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