May 30, 2014
2011 Aviva Premiership Final - Revisited
Saracens face Northampton Saints in their third Premiership final in the clubs history. Here Henry Fraser looks back to May 2011, when in their last Aviva Premiership final Saracens beat Leicester Tigers 22-18 in a tense season finale.
It was three years ago when Sarries had their name engraved on the Premiership trophy.
The previous year was huge for the club. In only the early stage of all the changes at the club, Sarries did brilliantly to reach the final against Leicester. After coming within seconds of winning the experience of playing in many finals showed for Leicester when they pounced on an error to score and win the game.
The two sides met again in the final the following year. But this time Sarries were more experienced and learnt their lesson from the previous year. It was tense from the start with both teams conceding points through poor discipline. It was definitely a final where nerves took over slightly.
One key aspect of the game was a battle of nerves between the two kickers. It was the youngster, and Sarries own, Owen Farrell who showed poise and nerve beyond his years. At only nineteen years of age he showed that he is a kicker for the big occasion and has proven this over the years for both club and country.
It was an edge of the seat affair that needed a moment of magic to break it for either team. That moment came from Sarries hooker Schalk Brits. He was standing deep waiting to receive the ball from a poor Leicester clearance kick. Brits made one if his trademark breaks and left players sprawled as he crabbed across the pitch to put James Short over in the corner. This gave Sarries a half time lead that Leicester could not close.
The closing moments of the match were too close for comfort. Leicester pounded the Sarries line phase after phase for almost thirty phases. But Sarries would not break. The wolf pack showed at that moment how much teamwork and desire is in the team and what teams will expect in the future.
It was a huge win for Sarries that the whole team and club can be proud of. Unfortunately Sarries have not had a return visit to the home of rugby to compete for the title since that moment. Until now.
This weekend Sarries return to Twickenham looking to be only one of a few teams to lift the trophy more than once.