Feb 06, 2017
Squad togetherness key to Cup win - Vass
Ian Vass believes Saracens Anglo-Welsh Cup squad’s togetherness was key to their 29-20 win over Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park on Sunday.
Fly-half Tom Whiteley’s 79th minute try secured a try-scoring bonus-point and booked Saracens a home semi-final for the Anglo-Welsh Cup holders. Vass, who 24 hours earlier helped England U20 defeat France as coach, heaped praise on Sarries young Cup squad, who bounced back from a chastening round one defeat away to Gloucester to book their place in the final four as top seeds.
"This group of players have had seven or eight games together now,” said Vass, “so although we maybe didn't have the experience, we had the edge because they'd played together more often."
“It's great that we've had this group together throughout the Anglo-Welsh Cup. It's good for their development to be exposed as young players in a tight game in a pressurised environment. We lost one in round one away to Gloucester and I think a lot of our players took a lot from that experience - it was very pleasing to see them manage the game today so well.
“It's how you learn to play in these tight games, win or lose. You learn a lot from when you lose those tight games and similarly, they’ll learn a lot from winning one today which is great for their development.”
On the game, Vass praised his side’s fortitude as they dug-deep to extinguish a Leicester Tigers fightback to secure the win in the dying stages of the game.
"In the first-half, we attacked well,” said Vass. “We did struggle at the breakdown at times, which sort of stunted our flow of possession. In the second-half we just had to dig in and the people who came off the bench really added to what we were doing.
"Leicester did come back hard at us and it was getting a little bit edgy at the end, so fortunately we managed to work our way out of it."
Cup holders Saracens progress to the final four of the Anglo-Welsh for a fourth consecutive season and will face Leicester Tigers at Allianz Park in the semi-final. On facing the Midlanders once again, Vass said: “Hopefully we’ll learn a few lessons from today (Sunday) and won’t make it so hard for ourselves, and I’m sure both teams will be evenly matched like today and we’re expecting another tight affair.”