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Saracens suffer shock defeat to Cornish Pirates in opening Championship fixture

The North London club were relegated to the second tier of English rugby for salary cap breaches.

Saracens suffered a surprise defeat away to Cornish Pirates.
Saracens suffered a surprise defeat away to Cornish Pirates.
Image: PA

SARACENS HAVE MADE a losing start to life in the Championship after falling to a 25-17 defeat at Cornish Pirates.

Saracens were relegated to the second tier of English rugby after being found guilty of breaching Premiership rules surrounding salary caps last year.

The North London club are expected to make a swift return to the Premiership, but suffered an early setback in their first fixture of the 2021 Championship season.

Saracens, who won four Premiership titles and three European Cups between 2015 and 2019, began Championship life away to Cornish Pirates, who were playing a competitive home fixture for the first time in over a year.

While missing a host of their England internationals, the Saracens team still packed plenty of punch with Sean Maitland, Tim Swinson, Jackson Wray and World Cup winner Vincent Koch all included in the starting 15. 

Saracens struck first at Mennaye Field through a Maitland try but the Pirates recovered to take a 8-5 lead by the half-hour mark through a Luke Scully penalty and a Tom Duncan try from a tap-and-go.

Alex Lewington crossed to restore Saracens’ lead just before half-time, but Manu Vunipola’s missed conversion left it a two-point game.

The hosts struck first after the break through Dan Frost before Swinson replied for Saracens. 

Five minutes before full-time, substitute Rhodri Davies finished a smart counter-attack, with Scully nailing the conversion, to seal a famous win for the Pirates.

Elsewhere, Coventry were 10-9 winners at home to Bedford Blues while Hartpury University recorded a 38-15 win at home to Richmond.

This year’s shortened Championship season will see a two-legged play-off determine promotion to the Premiership. 

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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