Visagie extinguishes Sparks
Saracens 16 - Worcester 10
Monday 13 September 2004
A match with little to commend it other than the fact that Worcester managed something that Rotherham, when newly promoted themselves, failed to do last season - gain a bonus point away from home.
Yesterday, Worcester revealed a feisty nature and an ability to knock back their opponents in the loose and there is no doubt that once they have their recognised tight heads back to full fitness they will compete better at the set piece.
It was their failure at the scrum that was a feature of the match. Five penalties were given away as the former Saracens loose head Steve Sparks found his best efforts extinguished by the former Springbok tight head Cobus Visagie.
Their head coach, Andy Keast, was able to explain the set-piece failings, though. "We have two tight heads out injured and our loan prop, Colin Noon, was unable to start training with us until last Thursday, so there was no real preparation for the scrum. And Visagie is one of the top three tight heads in the world."
In the loose the Premiership new boys were a very different prospect. They played hard and fast at the rucks, clearing them with brutal efficiency and providing slick possession. And drove skilfully and effectively at every opportunity.
Their opening salvoes were stunning. After slipping behind to Thomas Castaignède's fourth-minute penalty, they steamed upfield, driving powerfully. Eventually they got close enough for Sparks to pick up at the back and sprawl across the line for Worcester's first try in the Premiership, which was converted by Tommy Hayes.
But thereafter the propensity to give away penalties coupled with Saracens' own sharpness meant that they were going to struggle to maintain their half-time lead.
By the end, though, two missed penalties by Hayes looked expensive, and the Worcester team, especially the pack, looked exhausted.
Dan Scarbrough, one of Saracens' better players, scored the clincher after Phil Bailey's first-half touchdown. But the potency of the Sarries backs was blunted somewhat by the ferocious defence which confronted them. It was only Bailey and Scarbrough's determination which saw them through.
Saracens: Tries Bailey, Scarbrough; Penalties Castaignède 2. Worcester: Try Sparks; Conversion Hayes; Penalty Hayes.
Saracens: R Kydd; P Bailey (R Haughton, 38), T Castaignède (N Little, 80+2), K Sorrell, D Scarbrough; M Bartholomeusz, M Williams (M Rauluni, 71); K Yates, M Cairns (R Ibanez, 59), C Visagie, S Raiwalui (K Chesney, 59), I Fullarton, T Randell, H Vyvyan (capt), R Hill.
Worcester: D O'Leary; B Gollings, T Hayes, G Trueman (T Delport, 59), T Lombard; J Brown, N Cole; S Sparks (T Windo, 36), B Daly (A van Niekirk, 67), C Noon (L Fortey, 54), T Collier (P Murphy, 50-59), C Gillies, L Greeff, D Hickey (B MacLeod-Henderson, 67), P Sanderson (capt).
Referee: C White (Gloucestershire).
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal transfer news: Versatile Calum Chambers is a 'gamble', admits Arsene Wenger as Arsenal spending passes £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc