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Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 16:45 UK

Saracens 17-26 Scarlets

Saracens (14) 17
Tries: Leonelli, Cato Cons: Ross 2 Pens: Ross

Scarlets (16) 26
Tries: Lyons, Meeuws Cons: S Jones 2 Pens: S Jones 4

Saracens second row Chris Chesney clatters into the Scarlets defence
Saracens second row Chris Chesney clatters into the Scarlets defence

Saracens continued England's losing run in the opening round of the EDF Energy Cup as they went down to the Scarlets.

Scarlets took the lead through David Lyons but Sarries hit back as Francisco Leonelli and Noah Cato went over.

Stephen Jones kicked Scarlets into a 16-14 half-time lead before Gordon Ross answered but Kees Meeuws' try and a Jones penalty saw the Welsh side home.

Owen Farrell, 17, became the youngest English top-flight player since union went pro as a 67th-minute replacement.

The Saracens centre, son of former England rugby union international and Great Britain rugby league captain Andy, is just 17 years and 11 days old and beat Danny Cipriani's record by 36 days.

England fly-half Cipriani was 17 years and 47 days old when he first played for Wasps at Bristol in the Powergen Cup in December 2004.

Faced with Sarries' third match in the space of nine days, rugby director Eddie Jones made 14 changes from the side which won at Bristol in the Guinness Premiership on Wednesday.

The Scarlets fielded their strongest side after conceding a total of 66 points in defeats by Edinburgh and Glasgow in their last two Magners League matches, but they were far from convincing.

The Welsh side opened the scoring when they spurned an easy penalty and instead opted for a scrum, driving the Sarries pack back over their own line before ex-Australia international Lyons dropped on the ball for a converted score.

Saracens hit back with two tries in six minutes as Cato first supplied the scoring pass to Argentine Leonelli and then crossed himself.

Ross converted both scores but they trailed at the break as Jones punished a string of infringements with three penalties to give the visitors the half-time advantage.

The lead lasted just three minutes into the second half as Ross booted Saracens back in front with a penalty from a metre inside his own half.

But the Scarlets regained the lead when they drove ex-All Blacks prop Meeuws, who was returning to the side from injury, over in the 48th minute.

Jones added the conversion from the left touchline and the fly-half stretched their lead to nine points with his fourth penalty after 63 minutes.

Saracens boss Eddie Jones:
"I'm not pleased with the result. It's a game we should have won - and should have won well.

"There were six or seven guys under the age of 20 that played today and a lot of those have good futures if they work hard."

Jones on Owen Farrell:
"He's very mature; he's got a very serious attitude and is desperate to make it."

Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones:
"Saracens were always going to be tough but we kept faith in our game plan - keep the ball and try and play in the right areas.

"What I was really happy with was that our defensive structure got better as the game went along.

"Last year when we played Sarries they had a couple of penalty tries against us, but we got one up on them (with David Lyons' pushover try from a scrum) and the forwards are going very well."

Saracens: Scarbrough; Thrower, Leonelli, Goode, Cato; Ross, Rauluni; Lloyd, Cairns, Mercey, Chesney, Spencer, Barrell, Saull, Skirving.

Replacements: Penney for Thrower (65), O Farrell for Goode (63), Wilson for Rauluni (78), Walker for Cairns (78), Visagie for Mercey (52), Smith for Spencer (58), Raey for Saull (57).

Sin Bin: Scarbrough (62).

Scarlets: C Thomas, M Jones, King, G Evans, Brew, S Jones, Roberts, I Thomas, Rees, Meeuws, Cooper, Maling, Easterby, G Thomas, Lyons.

Replacements: Martens for Roberts (75), John for I Thomas (72), Owen for Rees (76), MacLeod for Cooper (66).

Not Used: N Thomas, Priestlend, Higgitt.

Sin Bin: Roberts (65).

Att: 6,068

Ref: J Jones (RFU).

see also
Bristol 16-23 Saracens
01 Oct 08 |  English
Glasgow Warriors 34-20 Scarlets
26 Sep 08 |  Glasgow
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales
EDF Energy Anglo-Welsh Cup 2008/9
19 Jun 08 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup archive
24 Jul 06 |  Welsh

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