Worcester 16 Saracens 21: Drahm too much makes Ruddock fear for Worcester survival

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The Independent Online

In case you have forgotten, Worcester beat Saracens twice last season, the second time on the final Saturday, which consigned Northampton to relegation and saved the Warriors. There was just a point in it. This season, Worcester are one place off the bottom of the table, which is occupied by Leeds Carnegie, who, like Wasps, have yet to win a game.

It is still early days for the Premiership, but unless Worcester can piece together something more interesting and substantial than this, they are in for a long and very difficult season. With England still in the World Cup, almost a third of the Premiership games will have been completed before those involved can return to their clubs.

Worcester took time to get started at Sixways on Saturday night, but they never recovered from Rodd Penney's interception try, six minutes before the break, which Glen Jackson converted to add to two penalties. Marcel Garvey had posted a try for Worcester, courtesy of Pat Sanderson's one-handed pass, the conversion being added by Shane Drahm.

Thereafter, it was nearly all Saracens. Drahm, it is true, added three penalties, but the sin-binning of Gavin Quinnell, for a high tackle on Sakiusa Matadigo gave Saracens all the encouragement they needed. They added a third penalty from Jackson, before Drahm's speculative high kick cost Worcester the match. Although he was 70 metres out, Richard Haughton gathered Drahm's kick and scooted past the cover for a tremendous try.

That left it at 21-13, before Drahm's final penalty cut Saracens' lead to five, earning Worcester a bonus point. "The two lapses by us were a big problem," reflected the Worcester director of rugby, Mike Ruddock. "We didn't hold on to the ball, our shape was not really good, with the result that we were always chasing the game." Having spent three seasons in the Premiership, there will be more catching up to be done by Worcester.

Worcester: Try Garvey; Conversion Drahm; Penalties Drahm 3.

Saracens: Tries Penney, Haughton; Conversion Jackson; Penalties Jackson 3.

Worcester: S Drahm; T Delport, D Rasmussen (G Trueman, 71), M Tucker, M Garvey; J Brown, R Powell (M Powell, 66); D Morris (T Windo, 58), C Fortey (B Gotting, 71), T Taumoepeau, P Murphy, C Gillies, D Hickey, P Sanderson (capt), K Horstemann (G Quinnell, 51).

Saracens: R Haughton; R Penney, K Sorrell (N Cato, 62), A Powell, E Thrower; G Jackson, N de Kock (capt); K Yates, M Cairns, C Johnston, H Vyvyan, C Chesney, S Matadigo (I Fullarton, 60), R Hill, B Skirving.

Referee: M Fox (Leicestershire).

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