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A League Final: Worcester Cavaliers 19 Saracens Storm 27

12 Jan 2015
A League Final: Worcester Cavaliers 19 Saracens Storm 27

A blistering start from Saracens Storm proved the difference as Maro Itoje’s men were able to cling on at Sixways to defeat Worcester Cavaliers 27-19 and claim the A League title.

Sarries shot out of the blocks and Itoje, Nick de Jager, and Hayden Thompson-Stringer went over inside the opening half an hour to see Saracens 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 to silence the huge Sixways crowd.

Worcester started brightly and a phenomenal driving maul from halfway saw the hosts move up to the Saracens line after just two minutes, but despite good link-up play between Dean Hammond and Dan Sanderson the Cavaliers could not force their way over the line.

The Storm looked strong at scrum-time, and after escaping their own try-line won a penalty inside Worcester’s half, which Spencer sent high to put the home defence under pressure.

And after the Cavaliers knocked-on, Storm skipper Itoje was able to dive over under the posts to open the scoring after 13 minutes, Spencer adding the extras to make it 7-0.

Worcester now looked under pressure and a mistake at the Cavaliers lineout just three minutes later gifted de Jager the ball, and the powerful No.8 finished superbly in the left corner.

Spencer made no mistake with the boot, sweeping an excellent conversion over from close to the touchline.

Saracens would not let up and were rewarded with another try on 26 minutes. The Storm won another penalty from the scrum, and after a quick tap-and-go Spencer offloaded for flanker Stringer to score.

But the Cavaliers hit back from the restart, and looked to utilise their dangerous looking rolling maul deep in Saracens territory.

And after Itoje saw yellow when the Storm were penalised in their own 22, Worcester took immediate advantage against the weakened pack and earned a penalty try with the Storm persistently infringing.

The crowd urged the home side forward, and were rewarded with another try in the dying moments of the first half when after another impressive rolling maul, captain Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier threw the dummy and charged down the blindside to score.

Mieres conversion crept through off the post, to leave the game finely balanced at 14-21 at the interval.

The Cavaliers were pinged early on the in second-half as Sarries held them up in the tackle, and Spencer was able to better the driving wind and rain once again to strike it through the posts from the right touchline.

Matt Hankin and Richard de Carpenter both saw yellow on 54 minutes as tempers flared, and Worcester looked sure to close the gap even further two minutes later. 

But following a line-out deep in Storm territory, Sanderson knocked on with Saracens stretched and the line at his mercy.

With both sides a man down the game was open and made for some thrilling end-to-end rugby.

Nils Mordt had a 62nd minute drop-goal attempt charged down, before Spencer finally missed from the tee from close to halfway three minutes later.

The Storm were down to 14 yet again soon after Hankin returned, when Catalin Fercu took out Stephenson in the air to make for a nervy final ten minutes.

And after Worcester worked their way up the pitch, Ravai Fatiaki was able to whip the ball wide to Stephenson who cut in from the right and squeezed over for a 75th minute try.

But Mieres conversion attempt missed to the left and the nerveless Spencer hit back for the Storm immediately with a penalty, to give them an eight-point margin which the Cavaliers could not haul back.

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