Hougaard helps Warriors see off young Saracens
A haul of 10 tries was probably not what was expected in this largely meaningless fixture at a moist Sixways, but Worcester continued Saracens’ dreary week by putting an inexperienced side to the sword and
keeping alive their slim hopes of Champions Cup qualification.
For Saracens, director of rugby Mark McCall admitted that his focus last night was not on the result. “The outcome is not the important thing,” he said. “It was the exposure of a number of very young players to Premiership rugby. We had a number of 19 and 20-year-olds making their debuts. We are very excited about this group.”
When Worcester raced into an early lead, with outstanding scrumhalf Francois Hougaard sniping over, it looked as if it could be a long night for Saracens. Hougaard, however, was “disappointed” that his team could not pull away. “When you have your foot on the throat you have to keep it there,” he said.
And, for periods in this game, Saracens’ fresh-faced line-up did cause problems. Centre Juan Pablo Socino’s neat offload put centre partner Charlie Watson clear to level the scores, before wing Noah Heward collected a Hougaard grubber to restore Worcester’s lead.
That lasted for all of 10 seconds as a fumbled restart allowed Watson to cross for his second try. A Worcester penalty try gave them breathing space, before Heward and Hougaard combined again to give their side the bonus point. Saracens stayed in touch through an Ali Crossdale try, despite the sin-binning of Sam Crean, but a late smash-and-grab from Worcester, with centre Ashley Beck and captain Ted Hill scoring, put the result beyond doubt.