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Saracens player ratings vs Bristol | 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership

By Liam Heagney
Saracens celebrate Juan Martin Gonzalez' second half try at Bristol (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

Saracens player ratings live from Ashton Gate: This round 17 encounter promised to be a belter with the six wins in a row Bristol hosting the two wins in a row Saracens. That form had this contest neatly poised before kick-off as a fifth versus fourth battle.

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Come the finish, it was the back-in-second-place Londoners who were cheering from the rooftops following their emphatic 41-20 success which qualified them for the semi-finals with one match to spare, next Saturday’s home game versus Sale. Here are the Saracens player ratings:

15. Elliot Daly – 8
Played stylishly the whole way through. A very safe pair of hands at the back who refused to yield. Look at his determination to win a race back and deny Bristol a late consolation. Also took over the kicking duties from Owen Farrell midway through the opening half to land 16 points from a possible 18, his only miss coming back off a post.

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14. Rotimi Segun – 7.5
Showed how much he has matured in recent times, making some decent carries and shutting the door defensively with intelligence. Rounded off his fine effort with a lovely try on 62 minutes with his team a yellow-carded man short.

13. Lucio Cinti – 7.5
A canny knack for making important interventions. See his carry that led to the 28th-minute penalty that got Saracens back on terms at 13-all. Then marvel at the wheels he exhibited in breaking from his half to create the bonus-point try for Juan Martin Gonzalez.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Bristol
20 - 41
Full-time
Saracens
All Stats and Data

12. Nick Tompkins – 8
Brought his trademark nuisance value to the party, repeatedly rushing the Bristol attack and unsettling their best-laid plans. Even tried his hand at scrummaging with his team short a few yellow-carded forwards.

11. Tom Parton – 6
Probably the quietest Saracens player in the park in the sense that he saw very little ball but he got stuck in on the other side with his tackling to help prevent the dangerous Gabriel Ibitoye from being an influence.

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10. Owen Farrell – 8.5
With his brother Gabriel skippering Old Belvedere to U13 Leinster Cup glory last Sunday at Donnybrook, he needed to step up to retake the family bragging rights and he did this to near-perfection, opening up a marvellous box of tricks. Immensely enjoyed himself in one of his final games for the club, producing numerous highlights – including a howitzer of a 50:22 from his own 22. Gave up kicking off the tee due to a groin issue but that was no black mark.

9. Ivan van Zyl – 8
The sole backline alteration from the win last time out over Bath, he had some teething issues such as his not rolling penalty which gave Bristol the invite into the 22 to create the opening try. However, he eventually settled and his energy was important in his 67-minute stay.

1. Mako Vunipola – 7
One of the three pack starters promoted from The Rec bench along with Marco Riccioni and Hugh Tizard, he too took a while to get motoring as there was a scrum penalty conceded and a pass that didn’t go to hand early doors. Got stuck in after that though to help swing momentum.

2. Jamie George – 7.5
Looked as game as ever, running gutsy support lines off carriers in the traffic. His leadership helped Saracens through their sticky first-half period, but he was one of the four forwards who made way when his team was reduced to 13 for eight second-half minutes.

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3. Marco Riccioni – 6.5
Having looked mortified standing in the background when the Billy Vunipola arrest incident unfolded in Mallorca, he endured a brutal start here when getting smacked back on his ass when hit by the kick-off receiving Benhard Janse van Rensburg. Was then soon left sprawled in more agony when Bristol battered their way over for the opening try. His day could only get better from there and it did.

4. Maro Itoje – 8
Cleared to play after a citing case at Bath was dismissed, he had Bristol staff demanding yellow cards at two junctures during the first half. They got their way in the second half, Itoje getting sin-binned on 50 minutes for catching Steven Luatua high and he didn’t return after his card period elapsed. By then, though, he has two slickly-taken first-half tries to his credit, scores that were pivotal in Saracens taking a grip they doggedly held onto.

5. Hugh Tizard – 7.5
Set the tone with a big early tackle on Magnus Bradbury on halfway, going on to clock up an impressive number of involvements before becoming one of the gang of four hooked on 53 minutes.

6. Juan Martin Gonzalez – 9
Surely the Premiership’s best bang for buck signing in 2023/24. He arrived with an already high work rate reputation from London Irish but he has been different gravy in the Saracens colours and was a thorn for Bristol after he was unable to stop Batley from scoring early. There was a vital penalty poach and lineout steal in the first half when the hosts were still on top. Then went on to show his attacking class, combining to help Itoje score the first of his pair and then getting his own, the bonus-securing try on 66 minutes. Finished with 23 tackles. Jeepers.

7. Ben Earl – 7.5
A curious situation in that he was the least impressive of the starting Saracens back row yet still played very well. His best first-half moment was clutching a Bristol lineout overthrow on the blow of half-time. Was carded on 52 minutes for breakdown illegality but when he came back, he got stuck back in to amply make amends for his 10-minute absence.

8. Tom Willis – 8
The third game in a row where he got the selection jump on Vunipola and you could see why. It was his worm-like carry that got Saracens near the line for Itoje to squirm over on the recycle for his second try. There was also a big tackle on Ibitoye nearing the break, one of 22 tackles made in his 71 minutes. Has proved himself this season to be another very shrewd McCall buy.

Replacements – Aled Davies (68), Billy Vunipola (71), and Alex Goode (76) were token cameos, but the rest of the subs were immense in helping Saracens stave off the potential crisis of being temporarily down to 13 players. Eroni Mawi epitomised the impact of the five forwards – the four who came on in minute 53 and then Theo McFarland on 61 – as it was the loosehead’s first carry that tempted Bradbury to concede and secure the three Daly points that gave 29-20 breathing space. That was vital.

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M
Michael 23 minutes ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Cant deny Christie is a good defender, box kicks well at times, BUT he’s a second too slow passing from the ground. Roigard, Ratima and Hotham will be our 2027 halfbacks I believe DMAC has played reasonably well in both games, so deserves to keep his place - his two breaks at Eden Park should have resulted in tries. Reece was really to blame for the Taylor failure - he stayed too wide, if he had come in a couple of meters the pass from Taylor would have worked. The Perofeta failure was extraordinary, he is normally such a good distributor, failure to draw in Steward was remarkable, failure to look inside was a shocker. Cory Flynn as lineout coach… umm something a miss here. Not sure who is calling the lineouts, but clearly we miss Whitelock’s leadership. Having a disfunctional line out really underminded the AB attack. But let’s remind ourselves Itoje is a master, and their tactics of going for the arms of the jumper on landing and pulling over was brilliant causing Paddy and Scooter to both fumble the balls. I am a Blues supporter so I like Talea, but if you play him on the wrong wing look out. While he’s not the fastest wing, he’s elusive and very industrious always looking for work. However, he’s not the tallest player, and everyone knows his weakness (a) being turned in defence - he’s slow to turn and react and (b) never jumps for high balls is normally out jumped. Personally, I find Recce and Talea too alike - Razor needs to couple them with another complementary partner Clark and Narawa respectively. However, for me the real troubling challenge is our mid-field. I am sorry Barrett & Ioane are a poor combo - either Barrett & Proctor or ALB & Ioane - but having two mid-fielders who are poor distributors is nuts. Jordie had a forgettable game in truth he missed so many tackles, which to be fair is unlike him. But sadly both Barrett and Ioane chose to bash first and rarely distribute cleanly.

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