A late Richard Haughton try exacted revenge as Saracens scored a Guinness Premiership victory at Worcester tonight.
Worcester did the double over Saracens last year – including a stunning 22-7 victory on the final day of last season which ensured the Warriors remained in the top flight.
But there was to be no repeat performance as Haughton – making his first start as full-back since December last year – sealed the win with his 70th-minute touchdown.
Saracens’ mercurial fly-half Glen Jackson, also making his first start of the season, opened the scoring with an eighth-minute penalty – after fluffing an earlier attempt.
The hosts toiled without getting much joy in the opening exchanges, wing Thinus Delport going close before he was hurled into touch.
But despite looking short of ideas in attack, it was Worcester who scored the first try on the half-hour.
Jackson failed to gather the ball on halfway, and Worcester turned it over before whisking it out for Marcel Garvey to cross on the right.
Shane Drahm converted, but Saracens immediately hit back when Rodd Penney intercepted a poor pass just inside his own half for an easy route under the posts.
Jackson converted, before adding another penalty to give Saracens a 13-7 half-time lead.
Worcester coach Mike Ruddock had urged his players to show the `Warrior’ spirit which earned them that famous victory at the end of last season – and it looked as if he would get it in the second half as his side flew out of the traps.
The home side quickly cut Saracens’ lead to three points, Drahm slotting an easy penalty after the visitors came to the side of a ruck.
But the momentum swung back in Saracens’ favour when Warriors’ replacement Gavin Quinnell was sin-binned for pole-axing Sakiusa Matadigo.
Jackson notched the resulting penalty as Saracens looked to make their numerical advantage count.
But Drahm kept the hosts in touch with a penalty of his own.
Haughton then spotted a gaping hole in Worcester’s defence to sprint 70 metres and go over in the right corner.
The try was harsh on Worcester, Saracens withstanding some hairy moments deep in their own territory. But Drahm ensured the day was not a write-off, with his third penalty late on earning Ruddock’s men a bonus point.