May 18, 2015
Saracens secure top four place - Match Review
Saracens booked their place in the Aviva Premiership play-offs with a convincing ten try win away to London Welsh.
The Allianz Park outfit showed no mercy at the Kassam as they cut loose in Oxford to comprehensively beat Rowland Phillips’ side.
Here, we look at few talking points from the weekend.
Chris Ashton’s form
Saracens needed to run-in the scores on Saturday and with a deadly finisher such as Chris Ashton within the ranks, it was a tailor made challenge for the in-form wing.
Ashton crossed for four tries on the day, scoring a five minute hat-trick (a Premiership record) and was at his roaming best hunting for the ball.
In what has been yet another free-scoring season for Ashton, the Saracens man has crossed the whitewash on 18 occasion in another superb season as he closes in on a half-century of tries for the north Londoners.
Attacking style continuing upward curve
Saracens finished the regular Premiership season as the league’s top scorers for a second successive season. The Saracens attacking game has continued to perform this season, with the Allianz Park side crossing for 107 tries in all-competition’s (including Sanlam Challenge fixtures) with 31 different players dotting down for a five-pointer.
This year Saracens have scored 664 points in the league, running in 70 tries in the process. The tries have been shared around, with wing trio Chris Ashton (18 tries) (Chris Wyles (13 tries), David Strettle (12 tries) leading the way in all-competitions whilst Owen Farrell Alex Goode, Charlie Hodgson and Ben Spencer have chipped in with 530 points between them.
Duncan Taylor and Juan Figallo have spent the majority of the season on the Saracens treatment table, but both showcased their capabilities with impressive cameos from the bench in Saracens ten try demolition of London Welsh.
Argentine prop forward Juan Figallo crossed for his maiden Sarries try and was a force to reckoned with up front with his work at the set-piece.
Scotland international centre Duncan Taylor is another who has endured a stop-start season, but his 19 minute performance at the Kassam Stadium underlined his attacking credentials. Taylor made 60 metres in his time on the field, beating two defenders in the process whilst showing some classy touches with the ball. Both are welcomed returns for Mark McCall.
There’s an old saying out West: “Steel is strong as it’s knew the hammer and the white heat.”
With defeating London Welsh on Saturday Saracens head into the cauldron that is Premiership play-off rugby for a sixth successive season. Sarries have experienced a myriad of feelings in the Premiership knock-out format and will be hoping to tap into their vast emotional reserves for a massive clash against Northampton Saints on Saturday.
In a repeat of last year’s Grand Final, Mark McCall’s charges will be hoping to book a final place from fourth place at the expense of the reigning league champions, much like Jim Mallinder’s side did in the 2012/13 season.