Nov 27, 2015
Saracens vs Worcester - Match Preview
Saracens return to Aviva Premiership duty this weekend after Champions Cup duty to face former Saracens loose forward Dean Ryan’s Worcester Warriors side.
Here, we preview Saturday’s London Double Header clash against the Warriors.
After a strong win on the road in Round 4 Saracens have enjoyed two impressive European victories and head back to Twickenham Stadium unbeaten competitively since their last visit to HQ back in May.
The Worcester Warriors are in a positive place going into this weekend’s match having recording 10 points from their opening four domestic rounds. Although Dean Ryan’s side only won one of their two European Challenge Cup fixtures, their Director of Rugby did take the opportunity to rest his starting XV last weekend against Zebre in order to be fresh for this domestic encounter.
Mark McCall knows that Saracens need to retain their focus this weekend and put in a strong performance at Twickenham Stadium;
“There are so many good teams in the Aviva Premiership now, every team gets stuck in each week and there aren’t really any upsets anymore because anyone can beat anyone whether you’ve been promoted like Worcester Warriors or not.”
Worcester Warriors’ captain GJ Van Velze is well aware that in spite of their positive start, their Aviva Premiership journey is only just beginning:
“We’re in a long process to make Worcester a very successful club, and we know that’s not going to happen overnight.There was a lot of work done last year on that and we need to keep progressing throughout this year too.”
Ones to Watch – Saracens
Marcelo Bosch showcased his elegance on the biggest stage for any rugby player in the recent Rugby World Cup. Blessed with a gliding running style and able to weave his way through the best of defences Bosch is the epitome of the ‘midfield maestro’. After being eased back into to Saracens duties after three appearances from the substitutes bench.
Chris Wyles has slotted straight back into the mix after his return from the Rugby World Cup. Chris’ versatility always makes him standout from the crowd and his eye for a quick break and ability to know exactly where the try line means he is always one of the Aviva Premiership’s top finishers.
Juan Figallo’s determination to get back from injury was rewarded by representing Argentina in the Bronze Rugby World Cup match. Juan’s set piece reputation precedes him, he is a man that you always want to have on your side of the scrum and one that will give the Worcester Warriors plenty to think about this weekend.
Ones to watch – Worcester Warriors
Chris Pennell is a stalwart of the Worcester Warriors and every season his form continues to improve. The full back has made more metres, 298, than any other individual in the opening four rounds of the Aviva Premiership and has been instrumental in all of Worcester’s positive invention in attack.
Phil Dowson was an individual Dean Ryan targeted to boost his leadership group at Sixways and from the opening round against his former side the flanker has excelled. With 57 tackles to his name his industry speaks for itself and he will be more than handful for Saracens’ back row to deal with.
In Round 4 New Zealander Bryce Heem marked his Worcester Warriors debut with a well-taken try and looks to be a very strong signing. The former Waikato Chief is a powerful runner with an eye for a gap and alongside Cooper Vuna, on the opposite wing, gives opponents a lot to think about.
238 – the total number of points that Saracens have scored at London Double Header fixtures since their first back in 2004
2,486 – the total number of points that Charlie Hodgson has scored in Aviva Premiership history
158 – tackles made by Worcester Warriors’ top 3 tacklers so far this Aviva Premiership season – Phil Dowson, Donncha O’Callaghan and Niall Annett
240 – the number of metres that Alex Goode has made in the opening four rounds of the Aviva Premiership competition
Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom; 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles; 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Ben Spencer; 1 Rhys Gill, 2 Schalk Brits, 3 Juan Figallo; 4 George Kruis, 5 Alistair Hargreaves ©, 6 Kelly Brown, 7 Will Fraser, 8 Ernst Joubert.
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Samulea Vunisa, 21 Neil De Kock, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Nick Tompkins.
Worcester Warriors: 15 Chris Pennell; 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna; 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Jonny Arr; 1 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 2 Niall Annett, 3 Nick Schonert; 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 5 Darren Barry; 6 Phil Dowson, 7 Sam Betty, 8 GJ van Velze (C)
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Ben Howard.