Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Saracens battle to victory

Saracens were made to work hard by a spirited Worcester before securing a deserved Aviva Premiership victory through second-half tries by David Strettle and Brad Barritt.

Charlie Hodgson added eight points from two penalties and a conversion, although he missed a further three attempts on goal.

Another former England fly-half, Andy Goode, kicked two goals for the visitors.

Saracens were determined to set the pace of their first home game of the season and were ahead inside three minutes when Hodgson scored a penalty awarded for a breakdown offence.

Miles Benjamin produced two big tackles to halt promising attacks and, for all their possession and territory, Saracens had to wait until the 20th minute for another scoring opportunity - but this time Hodgson's penalty crashed back off a post.

The price is usually high for such profligacy and, sure enough, Errie Claassens broke through, forcing a penalty out of the home defence. Goode equalised with a snap drop-goal to save himself the job of kicking for goal off a tee.

Kai Horsmann then broke clear from a scrum on half-way, Saracens were forced to concede a lineout from his kick-ahead and then offended while defending close to their line. Goode kicked the penalty, leaving their hosts looking bemused by a three-point half-time deficit.

Hodgson hauled his side level within two minutes of the re-start, drilling home a penalty after Worcester pulled down a maul. Schalk Brits injured himself two minutes later, charging shoulder-first into an tackle. The hooker looked to have suffered concussion and was removed from the field by stretcher to be replaced by Jamie George.

But Saracens broke the deadlock three minutes later, and Hodgson sparked it. His pass to Owen Farrell - who had just come on for Adam Powell - was whipped on to Strettle, who raced up the left wing and squeezed in by the flag despite the attempted tackle by Marcel Garvey. Hodgson's conversion attempt went wide.

Saracens struck again on the hour when Barritt raced onto a crash ball and battered his way over the line despite two defenders clinging onto the powerful centre. This time Hodgson converted. Garvey then broke clear of two tacklers on the right and kicked ahead only for a timely interception.


From Belfast Telegraph