Men’s 1st XV v Dubai Dragons (25 Jan ’19)

WHAT A GAME! What a CLUB and what a TEAM! In this report I’m just going to cut straight to it and say how proud it is to see Saracens achieving the goals we’ve set ourselves not only as rugby players, but as a Club and Team.

We went into the match knowing that the Dragons would be a tough and physical opponent. Despite a few disruptions due to injuries and unavailabilities the team had the job at hand & was completely focussed all week. There’s no better respect we can pay those team mates who can’t be with us than to represent them as if they were by carrying their passion and fire for them.

It took over 38 minutes for Sarries to score our first try, and after Josh Dransfield was sent from the field for an alleged high tackle (which he has since been cleared of and the red card over-turned). Alexandre Lassut captilised on the pressure he put on the opposition to recover a loose ball and run away with a well deserved try, and converted by Louw Marais. This sent Sarries into the break 0-7 up, to play out the rest of the game with 14 players. At half time we discussed how much we as a club relish these times: when our backs are against the wall, when the numbers are stacked against us and we prove our determination and fighting spirit. 
The second half opened to see Sarries score at the 44th minute mark. It was no surprise to see Francesco “Cappuccino” work his magic to score over the try line, and then converted by Louw Marais to see us 0-14 ahead. Despite some fantastic defence by Louw (all game!), and a brilliant game by Matthew Luxmore to read the play and secure ball from the blind wing, the Dragons scored an opportunistic try that went unconverted to make the score 5-14.

The 51 minute mark saw Sarries down to 13 players due to a yellow card for Louw for his unrelenting defence on his opposite player, and therefore Stefan Van Zyl take over the kicking duties. But with only 13 players on the pitch the team rallied: our scrum maintained dominance and backline unbreakable. Stafan slotted a penalty goal to keep our points ticking over. A true mark of how far Saracens have come this year to absorb all the difficulties and still go forward…. (This was unthinkable only 3 years ago).
The player count was later reduced to 14 players from the Dragons as a player was sent from the field for stomping. In true form Sarries didn’t retaliate but turned the opposition’s ill discipline into points as Loic Denomatsom scored a well earned tight forward’s try and then in the dying minute a try to the Sarries Captain, Stephan Marty “Martoch” as he folded around the side of the breakdown to score in the corner. The final soreline ended 5-27 to Sarries.

Alexandre Lassut was a well deserved Man of the Match for his “never-say-die” attitude to chase down every player and every ball. It was another stand out performance from our tight 5, especially our second row combination of Hans and Mario. Louw Marais was thrown into the flyhalf position and truly excelled – well done. Every Saracen from the Chairman to our Ladies, and most passionate supporters are what has bought us this far.
We have a long way to go and need to focus on our game against the Harlequins this Friday, 1st February at Al Ghazal (5 pm kick off). We have the respect for our cross-city rivals to show them the best we can train for and deliver on match day.