Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Saracens stunned by Worcester

Andy Goode (right)

Saracens' hopes of finishing top of the Aviva Premiership were dealt a bitter blow when Worcester pulled off an astonishing 16-11 win at Sixways.

In the first half Sarries held an 8-0 lead and for a period of 20 minutes they battered the Warriors as the home side failed to secure any possession at all.

Incredibly Worcester did not concede any further points at that stage and they slowly but surely got into the match - and with Andy Goode kicking 11 points they pulled off a tremendous win against all the odds.

Worcester made the better start but two poor passes from captain Shaun Perry surrendered the early initiative and Saracens made them pay after nine minutes when they opened the scoring with a superb try. Schalk Brits and Andy Saull showed excellent handling skills to send Michael Tagicakibau away on an unopposed 30-metre run to the line.

Alex Goode missed the conversion but was soon successful with a simple penalty and the visitors had an early eight-point advantage. Worcester were dealt a further blow when they lost creative full-back Errie Claasens with an injury as the hosts continued to struggle to contain a rampant Saracens.

Worcester stemmed the tide and when Hugh Vyvyan was penalised for diving over at a ruck, Andy Goode kicked a 35-metre penalty after 33 minutes. Worcester could have taken the lead when a brilliantly judged crossfield kick from Andy Goode narrowly escaped the clutches of Miles Benjamin as the wing hared up to collect.

With the last movement of the half, a clearance kick from Brits was charged down. Worcester took their opportunity, Andy Goode's pass went astray but Alex Grove hacked on the loose ball to collect and score the try which Goode converted to give the Warriors a scarcely believable 10-8 half-time lead.

Saracens regained the lead after 46 minutes, The Warriors offended at a lineout and Alex Goode made no mistake with an angled 35-metre penalty. Goode's namesake Andy then had his chance for the Warriors but his 45-metre kick, after Brits was penalised, fell narrowly short.

Despite Goode's miss, the Warriors had their best period of the match as their strong forward drives troubled the visitors' defence and they were rewarded when Andy Goode kicked a straightforward penalty to give his side a 13-11 lead going into the final quarter.

Chris Pennell had a chance to extend that lead but his penalty attempt from halfway lacked the distance. However the second half was a vastly different proposition from the first as Worcester's all-action game harassed Saracens into frequent errors, with Andy Goode rewarding his side with his third penalty.

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