Saracens skills coach Joe Shaw is calling on his Storm troops to bring a cup final mentality into Monday’s Aviva Premiership Rugby A League showpiece with Worcester Cavaliers.
Storm booked their place in the A League Final with an exciting 46-35 win over Newcastle Falcons last week, and remain unbeaten so far in the competition this season.
While Shaw admits outgunning an experienced Worcester line-up – which features the likes of former Aviva Premiership Rugby players Josh Drauniniu, Ignacio Mieres, and James Percival – will be a tough task, he is backing his young guns to get the job done.
“Obviously we’re very pleased to have made it past Newcastle and to carry on the momentum we’ve had in the Aviva Premiership Rugby A League this year,” he said.
“Newcastle had a good season and they were a challenging side, but the scoreline shows what an exciting game it was and what an exciting league this is.
“A strong defence is part of our DNA here at Saracens, and we were disappointed to have conceded so many points in that game, but those issues have been addressed ready for Worcester.
“At the end of the day this is a cup final, and some of the lads have played in Rugby World Cup finals for their age group, so for me this test is about being resilient for the whole match.
“Worcester have an incredibly strong squad with a lot of experience in this competition. They’ve played extremely well to take the northern side of the league by storm and fully deserve their place in the final. Playing at home they’ll be excited, but we are fully confident in our own ability as well.”
Storm have won all of their Aviva Premiership Rugby A League games so far this season, with hard-fought away triumphs at Bath United and London Irish the highlights in an impeccable campaign so far.
Shaw insists his players have what it takes to shine on the Aviva Premiership Rugby stage before too long.
“The last 10 minutes in the Newcastle game really showed what we are about; the maturity shown by Maro Itoje in understanding what was needed to win the game, and the boys having the temperament to execute that," he added.
“This is a really young squad that we’ve got and it is so exciting to see the talent that Saracens can bring into the side in the future.
“Nine of the starting line-up have come through the Sarries senior academy, and almost every team we’ve played against this year has had more experience in terms of game-time in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
“We are immensely proud of the journey the lads have been on, and I think a lot of the younger guys in these games have put their hands up to show that they are not far off making the next step.
“It would be unfair just to name one or two because I think everybody over the series of games has played their part, and I think the majority of them have what it takes to make the step into the first team soon – that’s why they are in this squad.”
The Aviva Premiership Rugby A League Final between Worcester Cavaliers and Saracens Storm will be at Sixways, Worcester at 7.30pm on Monday, 12 January. A free ticket can be reserved on 01905 459309, at the Warriors Box Office or via www.warriors.co.uk/tickets. Supporters are asked to make a voluntary donation of £2 on the gate, which will go to the Worcester Community Foundation.