Dec 31, 2014
Saracens in 2014 - What a Year
The final day of 2014 is here so we thought we'd take the opportunity to look back at another great year at Saracens.
It was a year where the club broke the Premiership record for points accumulated in one season, where the Men in Black reached their first ever European final. Stand out memories include beating Ulster at a fervent Ravenhill in the quarter-finals of the then Heineken Cup. Defeating London rivals Harlequins in front of a record crowd at Wembley Stadium and wowing European rugby with a 46-6 win against French giants Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham Stadium, a game in which Ashton scored his tenth and eleventh tries of his European season, eclipse the 17-year record of tries scored by Brive wing Sebastien Carrat in 1996-97.
The club bid farewell to club legend Steve Borthwick as Saracens were controversially denied Premiership glory in extra-time in the Premiership Final against Northampton. We also said goodbye to England & British and Irish Lions prop Matt Stevens, popular back-rower Justin Melck and most recently, fan favourite Mouritz Botha.
In the summer we welcomed new recruits Jim Hamilton, Juan Figallo and Mike Ellery in June as the club prepared for the rigours of the 2014/15 season with a summer trip to Chicago. Alistair Hargreaves was now leading the ‘Wolfpack’ after succeeding former second-row partner Steve Borthwick as the Saracens captain.
Everyone will have their own favourite games and memories but some of ours would include:
- Beating South African Super 15 side The Sharks 23 -15 in a historic North vs South clash at a packed Allianz Park in a game where Mouritz Botha’s king-hit on future teammate Jean Deysel was a particular highlight.
- Alex Goode’s performance as a last-minute call up to the Saracens No10 shirt away to Bath at the Rec. Saracens ran out 23-10 winners in a feisty contest.
- Saracens slaying of the Quins 39-17 in front of a world record crowd of 83,889 at Wembley Stadium. Chris Ashton’s trademark ‘Ash Splash’ drawing the biggest cheer of the day.
- The Men in Black making Ravenhill home. Mark McCall’s side beat Ulster in a drama filled Heineken Cup quarter final in a cauldron on noise in Belfast in a tense 15-17 win.
- Later on in the month of April, led by the superb Jacques Burger in a Man of the Match performance that will live long in the memory, Saracens demolished Clermont Auvergne 46-6 at Twickenham Stadium to book their place in their first ever European final.
- Taking to the field at the Millennium Stadium against Toulon. Led by England legend Jonny Wilkinson, the star studded French side proved too much for Saracens as they won their second successive Heineken Cup final.
- Borthers bows out. Struggling with an injury that would have side-lined most players, Steve Borthwick led his side out at Twickenham in his final game in an illustrious career. The Saracens skipper played every minute of the contest that was decided by a highly controversial call to hand Northampton the Premiership title.
- Back to action at the London Double Header. A David Strettle hat-trick clinched victory from the jaws of defeat against Wasps at Twickenham Stadium.
- A week later, Saracens stunned The Stoop by ‘nilling’ Harlequins in an emphatic 0-39 win against Conor O’Shea’s side.
- Now in European Champions Cup action, Saracens beat Clermont Auvergne 30-23 at Allianz Park with prolific wing pair Chris Ashton and David Strettle both crossing for a brace of tries.
- Scoring eleven tries in a 78-7 win against London Welsh in Mouritz Botha’s last ever Premiership game for the club.
What were your favourite memories of 2014? Share them with us on Facebook or Twitter.
Enjoy the last day of 2014 and we'll see you all next year!