Saracens skills coach Joe Shaw insists his Storm side had an 80-minute performance to thank for their A League triumph, as they saw off a late charge from the Worcester Cavaliers to win 27-19 in Monday night’s final.
Sarries made a blistering start in torrential conditions at Sixways with Maro Itoje, Nick de Jager, and Hayden Thompson-Stringer all going over inside the opening half an hour to see the Storm into a 21-0 lead.
The hosts battled back through a penalty try, Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier, and James Stephenson, but the boot of the ice-cool Ben Spencer kept the Storm in front in the second-half.
And Shaw admits that to go all the way with a group of players primarily brought through the Saracens academy meant a lot to the club.
“Obviously we are ecstatic as a club with that result,” he said. “The amount of boys in the side that have come through our academy system is incredible.
“It’s an amazing feat to have come on this amazing journey to a pretty hostile and intimidating place, and come out on top against a very experienced Worcester side.
“We got off to a tremendous start, but our leaders understand that these are 80-minute games. We knew Worcester would have their moments and they did.
“But we stuck to our strengths and even though it was very difficult to stop their driving maul, we found a way.
“It’s difficult to pick anyone out of such a good team effort and the amount of energy we put into our defence in the last 15 minutes, but I’ve got to mention Ben Spencer’s kicking game.
“He was exceptional and had the nerve to kick the goals at the end, but it was an incredible effort from all.”
Meanwhile Worcester academy transition coach Sam Vesty remained optimistic after the game, despite his side missing out on lifting the trophy.
The Cavaliers’ rolling maul was a constant threat, and after hauling themselves back into contention Vesty was proud of the character shown by Worcester.
He said: “If you give a team as good as that a leg-up with three tries in the first ten minutes, it makes life extremely hard.
“We made a couple of mistakes and the weather played into their game-plan massively. They kicked on the money every time, and they chase it better than anyone else.
“Tonight that tactic was the best, and any of our mistakes were really punished.
“But the boys showed real guts out there and came so close to turning the screws at the end, and we just fell short.
“I am very, very proud of them. We’ve only lost the one game this competition and they have massive spirit. They’ve brought massive energy in attack and it’s been exciting to coach them.
“They’ve excelled, and Worcester have never got here before. So we are happy to have made it, even if we are unhappy with the result.”
Worcester Cavaliers: Howard, Stephenson, Grove, Fatiaki, Hammond, Mieres, Bruzulier, Fainga’anuku, Annett, Rees, Percival, Sanderson, Taylor, Gilbert, De Carpentier.
Replacements: Sowrey, Bower, Daniels, Kerry, Mulchrone, Keith, Humphreys, Boyce.
Saracens Storm: Ransom, Ellery, Streather, Tomkins, Fercu, Mordt, Spencer, Gill, Saunders, Alo, Itoje, Smith, Thompson-Stringer, Hankin, De Jager.
Replacements: Taylor, Culverhouse, Featherstone, Tredrea, O’Neil, Whiteley, Wilkins, Palamo.
Tries: Penalty, Bruzulier, Stephenson
Conversions: Mieres 2
Tries: Itoje, De Jager, Thompson-Stringer
Conversions: Spencer 3
Penalties: Spencer 2
Referee: David Procter
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