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What did we really expect ?

By Finno
November 1 2017

So, after our excellent win against Stade in The Challenge Cup, everyone was buoyed by the fact that this must have given the players a much needed confidence boost after all our recent losses since the Quins game on the opening day.

How many of those in Paris would start against Sarries? Would Nick go for youth over experience? How strong a side would Sarries put out?

In the end, I think Nick went with his strongest (on paper) squad available, with perhaps the only surprise being Big Joe getting his Premiership debut, over Topsy, who's been rolling back the years recently. Sarries selected what seemed to me, their strongest side available apart from Maro(Thanks !).

Seeing the Sarries side on Friday I thought, now more than ever, we need a good first half or this could be embarrassing.

I managed to get a last minute parking space at Hendon RFC, so decided to drive, rather than face the pain of the train, tube and shuttle bus. What a bit of luck that was (Hendon RFC is literally next door to Allianz Park for those who don't know) as I was late, due to work problems. Three minute walk to the stadium, it almost made the £15 fee worthwhile...almost !

As I had a standing ticket and was late, there were very few spaces on the touchline barrier. Suddenly, I saw one, quick grab it, enquired of a nice group beside the space was it free?, yes they said, so I took up position and chatted about what we were about to see. Finished the conversation turned around to my right and immediately saw why the space had been there in the first place....Sarries poor excuse for a drum brigade were tooling up! God, they're poor, one trick ponies, with a trumpeter that can only play one note ! The guy with the snare drum was nearest, I'd a headache by the end of the match. We may be in the lower reaches of the Premiership but we're champions when it comes to drumming.

And so, to the match, we started well and seemed really up for it. Sarries seemed to be over playing every attack, throwing one speculative pass too many and knocking on, and when Farrell missed his third kickable kick, I thought we might be able to hang in there for a LBP, so long as the ref doesn't keep pinging us for questionable high tackles! Despite having little or no possession, and defending stoutly, we manged to get to half time 13-6 behind. A huge moral victory, considering the previous weeks first half displays.

Sarries simplified their game in the second half and were more direct. We manfully continued to defend really well up to the hour mark, with Pacey rumbling over for a try to keep us in touch. But in the end, all that defending was going to take its toll and Sarries ran in four tries in the last twenty minutes, all of high quality and quite impressive to watch. The match ended 44-13 to Sarries.

We battled well, our defence was hugely improved, our set piece stood up, but we simply aren't good enough at the moment to compete with the superb well oiled machine that is Sarries. To watch them up close from the sideline both in attack and defence is  impressive. Whether it's the speed and flatness of the passing, to the clever lazy running in defending box kicks, they certainly are the benchmark to which we must aspire. A quick word about Goode, he was fabulous. It's a shame and that Eddie wants a different type of full back, otherwise he should be starting for England every time at 15.

Overall it was a good day out, with rugby the real winner,  our display was encouraging in the extreme, and Sarries were just a joy to watch at times.

One final point, I noticed at the exit gate that there was a big bin for people to return their Sarries flags. I can only assume that you can borrow a flag to wave and then return it...if so, what a great idea. Maybe it's something we could consider !

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What did we really expect ?
The Craic (IP Logged)
01/11/2017 10:10
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Re: What did we really expect ?
RodB (IP Logged)
01/11/2017 11:22
Good report.... at least you cracked the 38 point curse ☺

Re: What did we really expect ?
Finno (IP Logged)
01/11/2017 12:13
Good report.... at least you cracked the 38 point curse ☺

yep I really did (Sm22)

Re: What did we really expect ?
Shawshank (IP Logged)
01/11/2017 13:10
Cheers Finno

Agreed about Goodey - one of life's great mysteries is Bomber and Eddie's penchant for a Donkey over a Thoroughbred...(Sm100)

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