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Page last updated at 15:25 GMT, Saturday, 5 September 2009 16:25 UK

Saracens 18-14 London Irish

Saracens (18) 18
Tries: Jackson, Saull Con: Jackson Pens: Jackson 2

London Irish (3) 14
Try: Stowers Pens: Lamb 2, D Armitage

Glen Jackson
Jackson (centre) scored 13 points for Saracens

Glen Jackson scored 13 points as Saracens got their season off to a winning start with a narrow win over London Irish at Twickenham.

Saracens led 18-3 at the break, with Jackson and flanker Andy Saull both crossing and Ryan Lamb, on debut, kicking a solitary penalty for Irish.

Lamb landed another penalty after the restart and George Stowers scored a try as the Exiles came back into it.

But a Delon Armitage penalty was the only other score as Sarries held on.

Both sides had been reduced to 14 men when Armitage and Schalk Brits were yellow-carded for their parts in a mini-brawl.

And Saracens went down to 13 players with 20 minutes left after Ernst Joubert was cautioned.

Saracens captain Steve Borthwick:
"It was a display of great character.

"It was always going to be a tight game and they came back at us. But the way every single person fought for the ball - our players are willing to fight and work so very, very hard.

"We won because of the character of the group. The willingness of the guys to put themselves out for each other was what won us the game."

London Irish coach Toby Booth:
"We made too many unforced errors that allowed them on the front foot.

"We are a little bit behind where we wanted to be. We were ring-rusty.

"It was all stop-start and there was no opportunity to get any momentum. It was a stark reminder of how competitive this league is."

Saracens: Goode; Cato, Ratuvou, Barritt, Wyles; Jackson, de Kock; Gill, Brits, Nieto, Borthwick, Vyvyan, van Heerden, Saull, Joubert.
Replacements: Hougaard for Jackson (73), Marshall for de Kock (69), Mercey for Gill (64), Botha for Vyvyan (61), Ongaro for van Heerden (53).
Not Used: Skuse, Owen, Haughton.

Sin Bin: Brits (53), Joubert (59).

London Irish: D Armitage; Thompstone, Seveali'i, Mapusua, Tagicakibau; Lamb, Hodgson; Dermody, Coetzee, Ion, Perry, Kennedy, Danaher, S Armitage, Hala'ufia.
Replacements: Richards for Seveali'i (41), Hewat for Lamb (64), Rautenbach for Dermody (69), Buckland for Coetzee (53), Murphy for Ion (53), Casey for Perry (53), Stowers for Hala'ufia (53).
Not Used: Lalanne.

Sin Bin: D Armitage (53).

Att: 67,684

Ref: David Pearson (RFU).

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see also
Premiership photos
06 Sep 09 |  English
Saracens hand Borthwick captaincy
15 Jul 09 |  Saracens
Exiles 'fresh start' excites Lamb
26 Aug 09 |  London Irish
Guinness Premiership Ins and Outs
25 Aug 09 |  English

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