Saracens players were in action across the globe over the weekend, here Henry Fraser wraps up all of the action.
This weekend had some huge results, some serious nail biters and Junior World Champions crowned.
In Hamilton New Zealand, Saracens duo Billy Vunipola and Chris Ashton started for England in their 36-13 defeat to the All Blacks, who wrapped up a series whitewash in the process.
The ultimate highlight of the weekend was the Junior World Championship final. This year’s final saw the last two winners of the tournament looking to get a second championship. The first half belonged to South Africa who scored the first try as England made too many errors. A very long range penalty from new academy recruit Aaron Morris kept England in touching distance. With all the stats against them England lead at the break with a try from Sarries winger Nathan Earle after a superb run from club team mate Nick Tompkins.
England corrected their first half errors and South Africa scored a very powerful try. However it was the English who showed huge resilience in defence close to their own line that won the game. After leading England through the knock out stages, Maro Itoje lift the trophy to crown England World Champions, again. New academy recruit Henry Taylor played a big role as well as Hayden Thompson-Stringer in the group stages. Final score 21-20.
One of the games of the weekend was South Africa v Wales. The Welsh took a very defeat last week and were certainly out to make amends this weekend. The welsh dominated early possession and the scored board. However ill discipline proved costly throughout the match for the away side. Two first half yellow cards let South Africa into the game. Tense for the whole eighty minutes the deciding moment came in the 77th minute when South Africa were awarded a penalty try to win the game. Schalk Brits earned another cap and showed his running ability on an international stage.
Across the pond saw a huge North American grudge match as the USA took on Canada. In a game where the scored board kept swinging this way then that it was Sarries own Chris Wyles that shone. Not only ball in hand, with a try, but with 18points from the boot. An individual 22 point haul helped the USA edged out a very close affair to end a seven match losing streak to their northern neighbours. The match also saw Hayden Smith play again for his country after his recent return to rugby. Final score 38-35.
A big pacific islands clash took place too as Samoa faced a big Fijian outfit creating a clash of the titans. Samoa lead the visitors 15-5 at half time punishing the Fijians lack of discipline. The let Fiji back in in the second half allowing them to score another try. A final Samoan penalty put the match out of sight for Fiji. James Johnston had a big day against another big hard hitting pack. Final score 18-13 to Samoa.