Somehow the end of the regular Premiership Rugby rounds arrived and Saracens faced a visit to Worcester to attempt to add points to their top place. Being untrusting of the roads on game day I made my 3rd road trip on a Friday in a row. I was relieved that unlike the previous 2 Fridays my Satnav didn’t double the time the journey would take. I arrived around 3:30 giving me time to chill before meeting up with friends.
I’m sure I’ve woken before about the difference Allianz Park has made to Saracens fans but I’ll reiterate it here. Real friendships have been formed in the time the club has moved, in no small part due to the Supporters Association.
This means game day is so much more than the 80 minutes on the pitch. I’ll move on to the match, but for this weekend it meant a post match meal in Worcester for a group of 26 in one instance. This really is a case of rugby changing lives, I’ve spent many an evening eating alone after being at sport.
I’d never been to Sixways, the home of Worcester Warriors and I have to say I loved it! The Warriors fans were really welcoming and as my good friend Alun pointed out the announcer was the first to make a point of welcoming the Premiership Champions as well as wishing Saracens well in Lyon.
The Warriors as the new boys in the Premiership had won 7 of their 21 games before this point, scoring 401 points along the way. One of those wins was one of the results of the season as they beat Northampton Saints at home in the opening game way back in October.
Could they spoil the champions party at the end of the season proper? Warriors certainly seemed to have that plan in mind as they scored within 3 minutes through Andy Simmons after a mere 3 minutes. Tom Heathcote converted the try to put the home team ahead by 7.
Saracens came back quickly as Charlie Hodgson and Alex Goode combined to put Neil De Kock in to score, Hodgson added the extras to even things up.
Having turned down a couple of kickable penalties to no avail, Hodgson went for the posts after a further penalty, his kick was wayward however and the Warriors made Saracens pay after Chris Pennell ran the ball down the left passing to Cooper Vuna who stormed in to score the home teams’ second try. A stunned Saracens were 7 points adrift after the try was converted.
However Alex Goode showed a piece of individual brilliance, kicking the ball ahead he gathered it, sidestepping a couple of tacklers before making a perfectly timed pass to Chris Ashton who ran in with his customary joy to score. Hodgson missed the conversion but added 3 points shortly after to give Saracens the lead for the first time in the game.
Saracens had used the rolling maul to good effect the week before at Allianz Park and having made ground several times in the first half they went for it again, Samuela Vunisa had ball in hand as the maul went over the line. Hodgson added the extras.
Saracens were on a roll – literally – and Goode had a hand in the next try, he put a grubber kick through, Pennell failed to take the bouncing ball and Ashton, in top form pounced on the ball to score.
Hodgson’s conversion took the score to Worcester Warriors 14 Saracens 29 at half time.
With the Champions Cup Final in mind Alex Goode was substituted and Ben Ramsom carried on where he’d left off, his grubber was pounced on by, Chris Ashton of course, a hat trick completed. He returned the favour for Ransom after a neat kick over the defence by Hodgson, Ashton’s pass saw Ransom run in under the posts. Hodgson converted both tries.
Worcester Warriors had the last say however with an exciting try as Bryce Heem made a great break, setting up Vuna for his second. It certainly gave the home crowd something to cheer about. Both sets of fans had been in fine voice throughout with ironic cries of ‘boring. boring Sarries’ from the visiting fans. The final score was Worcester Warriors 19 Saracens 43.
The final table makes interesting reading – Premiership Table – Saracens sit top with a 6 point advantage over Exeter Chiefs. The Top 3 can hardly be separated when it comes to points scored and points scored against with a noticeable gap with Leicester Tigers in 4th.
- Saracens 580 376
- Exeter Chiefs 585 361
- Wasps 598 397
- Leicester Tigers 509 475
And so Saracens will play Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park – The results between the 2 this season –
- 2nd Jan Saracens 26 – 6 Leicester Tigers
- 20th Mar Leicester Tigers 21 – 13 Saracens
Exeter Chiefs powered to 2nd place and will therefore face Wasps at Sandy Park – their results this season –
- 5th Dec Wasps 27 – 41 Exeter Chiefs
- 1st May Exeter Chiefs 24 – 3 Wasps
We should have 2 mouth watering semi-finals before the Premiership Final on May 28th!