Men’s 1st XV v Abu Dhabi Harlequins (01 Feb ’19)

Congratulations Saracens on making it 5 wins in a row and remaining undefeated in 2019! And of course to make it just that little sweeter was to win well against our cross-city counterparts, the Harlequins. It was good to welcome back our Captain, JT from injury as well as to see other previously unavailable players back in the jersey.

From a coach’s point of view it wasn’t our best “rugby”. We’ve played and won nicer recently however what continues to be a great hallmark of the season are the same factors which I believe are driving our success: commitment, passion, discipline and depth. Even though we didn’t really reach the rhythm of the style and format we wanted to play, our structure was there and still being executed. We are confident more than ever to be able to utilise the strength of our talented player depth to substitute for injury and tactically at any given moment. 

Sarries opened the scoring up after only 3 1/2 mins when Matt Luxmore went over for a try, which went unconverted. Then something that I believe we’ve all known was coming was a typical strong, wall-breaking run by Hans through the Quins players to see him run untouchable another 25 metres to score beneath the posts for a converted try at the 12 minute mark.
Unfortunately the rhythm we were searching for allowed us to become exposed in our reading the oppositions attack and hence we allowed Quins to make it 12-5. Francesco (“Cappuccino”) was as always eager for some points and crossed the try line after 25 mins, as did Alex at the just before half time to have the score 29-5 at the break: another great game from both players. 

We kicked off eager to allow our scrum to be the dominant force we knew they were over Quins. With such a talented forward pack our scrum is definitely a very large aspect of our game and something we will continue to improve, especially when our opposition use tactics to counter our scrum supremacy. Kava was his usual bustling best and went over to score the first of his 2 tries after 51 minutes. Again however we allowed ourselves to lose focus on the opposition attack and numbers which allowed Quins to score 2 tries within 10 mins to claw back the scoreline to 34-17. Although receiving a large cut over his eye Louw Marais was able to return to the field to score (& converted by Lucian Ruiters) with 10 mins remaining in the game, and then followed by Kava’s second try.

The final score was 46-17 to Saracens. Apart from the win and the determination of the players what was surprising, and humbling for me, personally to see was the appreciation of our supporters who gathered to clap and cheer the team after the game had ended. In my 5 years at Saracens I’ve never seen our supporters as passionate and full of confidence, hope and happiness.

The Man of Match was well deserved by Vice Captain Lucien Ruiters for his strong game and brilliant game management. Kava of course was a close second as was Hans.

There is no game this weekend so please stay informed via the website for updates on training.

Well done ALL Sarries for another well deserved win as we continue to fight toward the finals campaign of the 2018/19 season!!