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Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41

Andy Goode

By Large
February 16 2009

Everyone has their favorite Saracens. Many hark back to the 1998 cup winning team for theirs Saracens and many of that team are in this list of my top 50 players to don the black shirt since the inception of the Premiership and the move to Watfiord in 1997. Therefore previous Sarries stalwarts like Floyd Steadman, Alex Keay, Lawrenece Smith, Brian Davies et al are, unfortunately missing.

So without further ado, here are the first ten in the list from 50 to 41, along with my reasons for them being here.


50. Andy Goode – Outside Half

Probably up there in the top three of anyone’s list of the most reviled ex-Sarries (Julian White and Dean Ryan, anyone?) but makes this list thanks to a shedful of points and a carefully-aimed, low-trajectory bullet of a punt into the Shed itself after being given the bird by the cheery cherries. I’m sure it hit someone who deserved it as much as Goode did himself.


49. Brett Sparg – Wing/Fullback

Bert Spragg was one of those smaller players who’d give 100% and he certainly was a tryer. Left just before the 2003 World Cup, if I recall correctly, to try to break into the Namibia side and, unfortunately, disappeared without trace after failing to do so.


48. George Chuter - Hooker

Got into the England reckoning while he was here and then, inexplicably, disappeared to go travelling around the world; only to reappear at Leicester a few months later with a considerably smaller nose. Coincidence or something else inexplicable?


47. Andy Lee – Outside Half

My earliest memory of Barney Rubble was when he kicked the winning penalty at Bramley Road against Leicester in 1995-96. I could hear the roar in Finchley where I was playing. Was with the club ages so it was a shame he spoiled it after leaving by going to work for Quins.


46. Tony Roques – Flanker

“The Machine” left in 2004 after six seasons of unstinting service in the back row. Unfortunately in the day of the mobile fort at flanker, Rocky, despite his fitness and tackle count, was normally bumped off the ball by bigger back rowers in the GP, while he was kept out of the side in his early years by bigger names.


45. Paddy Johns – Second row

Remember THAT brawl down at Lydney in 1999? Big pro London team comes down to give the Gloucestershire part-times a beating. Cue home pack getting their retaliation in first at an early lineout. The 16-man scrap spills over to the barrier pitchside and poor old Gentleman Johns is not only being beaten by the home pack, but half a dozen of their supporters too. Made I larf, although I don’t think the Ulster dentist saw the funny side.


44. Matt Singer – Wing

The old, shabby Franklin’s Gardens was the scene for Singsong’s greatest moment which put Sarries into the 1998 Cup final. Went down in my estimation seriously thereafter for a try in the Varsity Match for Fenland Polytechnic against my beloved Dark Blues.


43. Scott Murray – Second row

“Oi! Murray!” shouted a Fezboy (who shall remain unnamed) at an end of season do a few seasons back “Ow come you’re so bloody good for Scotland and so s**t for Sarries?” I didn’t hang around for the answer, but it still eludes many as Murray, despite his unquestionable talent and athleticism, didn’t really reproduce his international form in a black shirt. I liked him, though.


42. Shane Byrne – Hooker

Took an age to get into his stride when he arrived, but during his final season Mullet showed what a good player he was in and around the loose. Shame, then, that his contract wasn’t renewed and he went back to Ireland, presumably to open a hairdressing business.


41. Luke Smith – Outside half

Luke who? Was the headline when he arrived from Rotherham. We and Gloucester found out in the second match of the 2001-02 season as he kicked 29 points to win it. Probably most memorable for the cringe-worthy “Use the Force, Luke” noise that used to be played as he lined up his many kicks at goal.



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Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41 (IP Logged)
16/02/2009 23:36
What do you think? You can have your say by posting below.
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Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
T (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 10:08
Fab stuff Large...

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
BigBri (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 10:27
Who was that mysterious Fezboy and has he got hair now lol

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
T (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 11:34
It was what everybodody thought at the time though.

Murray in an Scotland shirt was something very special in A Saracens shirt he ran around for a bit at lineouts took nothing and didn't look interested at all. Up there with Daly in terms of poor signings

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
BigBri (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 11:40
BTW did you mean Alex Keay at top?

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
AP (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 13:15
Wasn't Brett Sparg Namibian and did get into the 2003 side?

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
T (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 13:20
Alex Key was on Kripton factor when i was a nipper, he was a good player but came behind Floyd Steadman and John Buckton as my favorite players as a Child

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
To Mega Therion (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 14:08
I was wrong about the country (which is now amended) and right about Brett not making the 2003 RWC Squad
Eparistera Daimones

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
boomer! (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 15:26
Good reading, it made me smile. I look forward to the next batch.


Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
Graeme D (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 19:00
It must be Alex Keay he followed on as skipper from Floyd Steadman in about 83.

Great little article.

Will need to start a where are they now section ....

Andy Goode .. can't quite remember seem to think I saw him play in the last week or so somewhere

Brett Sparg - working as a carpenter in Namibia

George Chuter - Still around at Leics

Andy Lee ?? thought he was coaching somewhere

Tony Roques - Teaching at Ivybridge School and playing part time for Cornish All Blacks

Paddy Johns - Guess he is on the speaking tour somewhere

Matt Singer - ??

Scott Murray - ??

Shane Byrne - Back running the family business in Ireland and occasional amateur match

Luke Smith - ??

Can anyone fill the gaps ?


Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
The Bard (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 22:28
I felt desperatly sorry for Matt Singer after he scored two tries in the Semi final at FG, and then never got on the field in the final even though we were miles in front, and just about everyone else had got on.
Luke Smith....had the occasional good day with the boot at VR, but that really was IT. How can you seriously put him ahead of Goodey, who was a far better all round player?(Sm35)

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
To Mega Therion (IP Logged)
17/02/2009 23:39
Easy. Luke Smith was liked a lot more. Next question please. If Goodey hadn't pulled that stunt at Kingsholm, he wouldn't even had registered and we wouldn't be having this conversation.
Eparistera Daimones

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
BigBri (IP Logged)
18/02/2009 10:19
Paddy Johns is or was a dentist.

Scott Murray was playing in France wasn't he?

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
To Mega Therion (IP Logged)
18/02/2009 18:39
Scott Murray is at Montauban
Eparistera Daimones

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
refminder (IP Logged)
19/02/2009 10:33
The derogatory comment about Andy Goode is out of order, as are the references to Ryan and White in this context. The reasons for a player's inclusion in the list should be wholly positive ; after all we have a long enough list of players to chose from.

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
Graeme D (IP Logged)
19/02/2009 10:58
Hey Refminder

It is Large's top 50 and the odd off beat comment and the criteria for inclusion must be his right just for putting the list together.


Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
MGB (IP Logged)
19/02/2009 23:29
Luke Smith was brought in by Francois Pienaar to kick goals, which is all he could do. Pity that he missed about 4 relatively easy chances against Wasps at Loftus Road in his first game, which lost us the match. My other memory of him is that I was sitting next to Pienaar when Luke scored his only try for Saracens and I got a big hug from FP - I still shudder at the memory.

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
Eric Browett (IP Logged)
20/02/2009 17:41
Brett Sparg was versatile, talented and small. Had great hands. I remember he was instrumental in setting up a length of the field team try against Bristol away, finished off I think by Ches.

Re: Large's Top 50 Saracens - 50-41
Wife of BS (IP Logged)
05/03/2009 00:33
Sorry - but I am just laughing my head off(Sm22)

Was there really anthing at all objective about this poll - because I'm struggling to find anything constructive in this ....

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