I have photos to share and a little to say about both the Saracens match and the England match, so here I go. (Photos to follow – WordPress isn’t co-operating) […]
I have photos to share and a little to say about both the Saracens match and the England match, so here I go. (Photos to follow – WordPress isn’t co-operating)
I set off to Allianz Park with 2 England losses to contemplate, Scotland had run amok at Murrayfield on Saturday, with England seemingly forgetting one key element of play when talking rugby union – I looked up a definition
The breakdown is a colloquial term for the short period of open play immediately after a tackle and before and during the ensuing ruck. During this time teams compete for possession of the ball, initially with their hands and then using feet in the ruck.
John Barclay in particular repeatedly stepped into the play area and simply picked the ball up, England barely competed! Add to that the fact that the ball was kindly returned to Scotland by those kicking for England and the fact that Finn Russell was outrageously good at times. Huw Jones scored 2 great tries and Sean Maitland 1, after an outstanding pass from Russell, whereas Owen Farrell scored England’s solitary try. With a few kicks added in that all made a scoreline of Scotland 25 England 13. Scotland were good for their win and fully deserved to lift the Calcutta Cup.
It had been a mixed season for Tigers, but they arrived at Allianz Park on the back of a win against Harlequins, Saracens had suffered during the Autumn International period but fared quite well during the 6 Nations spell.
That didn’t seem to unsettle Tigers at all, as disappointing as it will have been for Owen. I am a fan of stats and am going to quote some very interesting ones. Sam Harrison made 93 passes, Ben Spencer 55, that’s a huge difference! A sign of the fact that the Tigers won more ball, but also a sign of the tactic Saracens so often deploy of the box kick. That often works, but during this game it really didn’t, the ball kept going straight to one of the Tigers speeds backs and as a rule they made the most of the ball when it was in their possession.
Manu Tuliagi, looking in good shape, scored Tigers first try after just 10 minutes, Greg Bateman scored their second after 33, with a run that any back would be proud of, the score was against my team, but it was a sight ti behold, there’s just something about seeing a free running prop! Telusa Veainu scored a third try just before half time, leaving a rather shell shocked Saracens trailing by 6, two Ben Spencer penalties to Tigers 21, three converted tries. Matt Toomua showed his class and ran the show for Tigers, it’ll be interesting to see what happens there when George Ford returns from England duty.
Saracens had lost Calum Clarke after 17 minutes, with the lively Sione Vailanu replacing him, he lasted a whole 11 minutes before succumbing to injury to be replaced by Scott Spurling, a Hooker. The cupboard is sparse when it comes to back row players for Saracens with international call ups and long term injuries.
Saracens Hooker for the game, Schalk Brits, was substituted by Mark Flanagan a second rower, with Scott Spurling moving into his own position. But it was the replacement scrum and fly half that made a difference to the home team. Things livened up with the introduction of Tom Whitely and Max Malins, although I should mention that Nathan Earle had 2 tries, rightly, disallowed.
Along with Max Malins’ tries there was a glorious sunset to brighten the day!