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Saracens 38-15 Gloucester: Super Maro Itoje stars as leaders deliver statement of intent

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. 

Sarcens beat Gloucester 38-15 to continue their 100 per cent start to the new season

 England forward Maro Itoje crossed twice in a dominant display by the league leaders

 England forward Maro Itoje crossed twice in a dominant display by the league leaders

Owen Farrell (right) got the upper hand against England fly-half rival Danny Cipriani (left)

Farrell (left) was named in Eddie Jones' latest training squad ahead of Cipriani

Owen Farrell faced off against England fly-half rival Danny Cipriani on Sunday afternoon

The duel with Owen Farrell, who is Eddie Jones’ preferred fly-half alongside George Ford, never materialised due to a forward mismatch that reduced Cipriani to a peripheral figure from the second quarter onwards.

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.

Additional good news arrived in the successful comebacks from lengthy injury lay-offs made by forwards George Kruis and Schalk Burger, the former making his first start of the season before joining England at their three-day training camp in Bristol.

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.

Winger David Strettle (front) broke clear to score the opening try of the day for Saracens

Winger David Strettle (front) broke clear to score the opening try of the day for Saracens

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.

A kickable penalty was declined in favour of touch but there was insufficient space for Charlie Sharples on the right wing to make the most of Cipriani’s long pass.

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.

Maitland was the next to cross after benefiting from a brilliant step and pass from replacement full-back Alex Goode as Saracens made an ominous start to the second half.

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.

Sean Maitland (left) and Alex Goode celebrate during Saracens' 38-15 win over Gloucester 

Sean Maitland (left) and Alex Goode celebrate during Saracens’ 38-15 win over Gloucester