Oct 31, 2017
Red & Black October - A look back at a month to remember
In terms of memorable months early on in a season, October 2017 will take some beating for Saracens fans.
Unbeaten form, contract renewals, sold-out home games, international call-ups, personal milestones and Hall of Fame inductees, October had it all.
On the pitch, Saracens have been have played some scintillating rugby. In four games they have run-in 23 tries (14 different try scorers), averaging 43.75 points per game in the calendar month in some crunch games in both the Aviva Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup.
They kicked off the month with a bonus-point win over Wasps at a sold-out Allianz Park with hooker Jamie George the star of the show as the England hooker ran in a hat-trick against Dai Young’s side. The game saw the club’s inspirational skipper Brad Barritt run-out for his 200th game for the club alongside his son Leo.
A week later Saracens really turned on the style, as the demolished Northampton Saints running in eight tries to consign the Saints to their worst ever home defeat in round one of the European Rugby Champions Cup. Liam Williams announced himself to his new Sarries fanbase in the game, picking up a well-deserved Man of the Match award in a two-try performance.
A week later, Saracens survived a spirited Ospreys performance with replacement centre Nick Tompkins inspiring his side to a 36-34 win with the former academy centre scoring the game-winning try.
Last week, Sarries continued their rich vein of form in a six-try defeat of London Irish, who had former Sarries favourite Petrus Du Plessis in their starting line-up. It was another sell-out in north London, and the game saw scrumhalf Richard Wigglesworth make his 250th Aviva Premiership appearance, joining former Saracens, Steve Borthwick (265), George Chuter (262) Charlie Hodgson (254), in the all-time top five appearance makers in the English top-flight.
Earlier this month the Aviva Premiership inducted two Saracens legends into their Hall of Fame. Premiership (2011) winning skipper Steve Borthwick and former scrumhalf and England World Cup winner were inducted at the ceremony that took place at London’s Honourable Artillery Company in joining the likes of former Sarries, Charile Hodgson and Hugh Vyvyan and England stars such as Jonny Wilkinson, Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio as members.
Off the pitch was an extremely productive month for the Men in Black as the club continued to tie down its best and brightest talents to long-term deals at Allianz Park. England and British & Lions hooker Jamie George, England EPS scrumhalf Ben Spencer (both three-year deals), the much-coveted Alex Lozowski (two-year deal) and highly rated youngsters Nick Isiekwe (also two-year deals) have all followed Owen Farrell (five-year deal) in extending their stay at Allianz Park.
Away from Saracens, the club also celebrated the international call-ups of nine of their players. For England, Jamie George, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Mako Vunipola, Owen Farrell and Alex Lozowski were all included whilst Christopher Tolofua (France) and Liam Williams (Wales) also received call-ups. Duncan Taylor (knee) and Sean Maitland (foot) missed out on Scotland selection due to injury.
Saracens will now be looking ahead to the second round Anglo-Welsh Cup followed by the return of the Aviva Premiership later in November.
Speaking about the upcoming month of November, director of rugby Mark McCall said: “The Anglo-Welsh Cup is an exciting time for us as a Club as we get the chance to give some of our younger players a run in the side in a pressurised environment.
“It also gives us a chance to rest some of players who have played in the Premiership and Europe, and we can get some of our players who haven’t had that much game time some much needed action.
“It’s a competition that has served us well in the past, and we’re looking forward to this season’s campaign.”
Saracens Red & Black October breakdown
4 wins from 4
175 points scored
23 tries scored
14 different try scorers
4 - Liam Williams leads the October try scoring charts with 4, ahead of Jamie George and Chris Wyles both (3), and Mako Vunipola and Nathan Earle (2)
2 sell-outs at Allianz Park (vs Wasps & London Irish).
200 – Brad Barritt’s Saracens appearances after the Wasps game
5 players renewed their contracts with the club.
125 – Liam Williams made the most metres (125) and clean breaks (6) of any player in Round 1 of the Champions Cup
698 – metres made by Alex Goode in his Man of the Match performance against London Irish
6 - Chris Wyles made 6 breaks vs London Irish, only the 8th time since 2008/09 a player has made as many in Premiership Rugby