Saracens 44 Worcester 20 match report: Saracens in cruise control as Warriors bow to inevitable

Jackson Wray scores a hat-trick as Premiership leaders Saracens remain on course for double

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The Independent Online

A routine scoreline, perhaps, for the two clubs at opposite ends of the Aviva Premiership, yet it left Saracens with a record and Worcester Warriors with the bitter taste of relegation. The Midland club are now definitely down.

If there was a spark of defiance with the last two tries of a game lacking intensity and accuracy, even that was extinguished by the fact that Worcester’s final try was scored against a 12-man side. Saracens voluntarily reduced themselves to 14 when Will Fraser took a knock to the ankle and all their replacements had been used, and then saw David Strettle and Neil de Kock dispatched to the sin-bin in the last five minutes.

By then Saracens had the match tied up, stamped and posted. Six tries, three of them to the industrious Jackson Wray, gave them the bonus point and an aggregate of 85 points with one match of the regular season left to play. That is a record which was previously held at 83 by next Saturday’s opponents at Welford Road, Leicester.

It will be instructive to see what approach Saracens take to that match, and Mark McCall, their director of rugby, was giving no clues. Saracens are so far ahead of the field they can afford to rest whoever they wish. Mako Vunipola came off with a slight hamstring strain with only seven minutes played, but there are decent replacements for the England prop with play-offs and a Heineken Cup final in the offing.

“We started this season wanting to be a really consistent club and there is evidence we are getting there,” McCall said after this 19th win from 21 Premiership games and, at 64, twice the number of tries scored last season. Both wings scored within nine minutes of the start and Chris Ashton added a second just after half-time interval to confirm the impression he has recovered his international form.

If anything illustrated Worcester’s season-long toil, it was the inordinate length of time they took to score their first-half try. A five-metre scrum was reset seven times, Rhys Gill was sent to the sin-bin and even then Saracens cleared, only for Chris Pennell to scoot over a minute before the half-time whistle. In that minute, of course, Saracens scored when Wray picked a good line through some flimsy tackles.

“The gap in class, pace, physicality, was clear,” Dean Ryan, the Warriors director of rugby, said. “Every time we got close, they changed gear, and that’s part of the challenge we have going forward.

“People have to come to us because it’s their club, not a stepping stone or a retirement home. We have to grow a proper rugby club, one that puts resources in the right areas, trusts its academy, and then gets back to this level.

“We’re in the Championship now and that will hurt some egos, it has to act as a driver.”


Saracens: A Goode; C Ashton, M Bosch, B Barritt (D Taylor, 54), D Strettle; O Farrell (C Wyles, 52), R Wigglesworth (N de Kock, 52); M Vunipola (R Gill, 7), S Brits (J George, 52), M Stevens (J Johnston, 61), A Hargreaves (capt), M Botha (E Sherriff, 61), J Wray, W Fraser, B Vunipola (K Brown, 52).

Worcester: C Pennell; J Drauniniu, A Grove, A Symons (R Tafiaki, 62) D Lemi (M Stelling, 77); R Lamb, J Arr (P Hodgson, 66); O Fainga’anuku (P Andrew, 66), A Creevey (E Shervington, 54), E Murray, J Percival, M Galarza, M Williams (R de Carpentier, 66) S Betty (S Taulava, 57), J Thomas (capt).

Referee: T Wigglesworth (Yorkshire).