Aug 31, 2016
Jim Hamilton ready to hit the ground running
Saracens scored a whopping 91 points against Worcester Warriors last season in Aviva Premiership Rugby, but veteran lock Jim Hamilton insists there is no chance they will be underestimating Carl Hogg’s charges ahead of next weekend’s London Double Header.
It may have been a summer of upheaval in the coaching department with Dean Ryan leaving and Hogg replacing him in the top job at Sixways, but Hamilton believes off-field changes won’t affect Warriors.
The season opener is always more of a level playing field and the giant lock has called on his Saracens’ team-mates to dig deep at Twickenham and get their campaign off to a flyer.
“Worcester is a team I really like and admire. I have a lot of friends at the club and we will respect them that’s for sure,” said Hamilton.
“They have a very settled side, the squad is getting stronger every year; I know they have lost Dean Ryan but not much else has changed. They still have a very good coaching set up, they’ve added quality again to the squad and they will be a serious challenge. They struggled against us last season but it’s a new season, they will have prepared well for the occasion and so we can’t underestimate Worcester.
“The first game is always hard on the lungs even if you’ve played two or three pre-season games and so we know we will need to hit the ground running.”
Hamilton may be preparing to run out in front of a packed Twickenham crowd but the veteran Scot insists preparations will be no different for Saracens ahead of the clash with Worcester.
After last season’s double success – Sarries lifted the Aviva Premiership Rugby and European crowns – the club is determined to back up their achievements. And Hamilton is targeting a big performance in the season curtain-raiser.
He said: “First and foremost it’s good to get out there again – I love to play in the London Double Header – it’s a date in the calendar we all look forward to.
“It’s a great pitch, it’s a great surface, it’s conducive to a fast game, there’s no wind because it’s a big stadium and it’s a pleasure to be involved.
“It’s an amazing experience to walk out at Twickenham in front of a large crowd – as professional sportsmen it’s what you play for the game for.
“We train hard for opportunities like the London Double Header; the fixture has been kind to us in recent seasons and it’s something we want to continue next weekend.
“We don’t worry about the spectacle or the large number of fans, we just train and prepare for the fixture as though it’s just another game.
“We have a motto here that we don’t pick and choose – we’re not going to prepare any differently.”
Start the Aviva Premiership Rugby Season in style with two games from £25 at Twickenham. Harlequins v Bristol Rugby and Saracens v Worcester Warriors in the London Double Header, 3 September. Tickets available from www.saracens.com/tickets.