Flying Fijian Kameli Ratuvou scored on his return from international duty to stop the rot at Saracens and inspire Eddie Jones’ men to a 23-6 GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP victory over resurgent Worcester.
The Pacific Islander crossed along with Glen Jackson to grab the hosts’ first victory in three games and prevent Mike Ruddock’s men making it three wins on the spin.
Chris Pennell had dragged Worcester back into the game with two penalties as Jackson failed to find his aim. But Sam Tuitupou’s yellow card ended any hopes of a comeback as Saracens, coached in the week by World Cup winner Jake White, secured the win late on through Brad Barritt’s first try for the club.
Andy Farrell’s early burst handed leading Premiership points-scorer Jackson the chance to kick at goal, but his penalty attempt drifted wide. The New Zealander made amends on seven minutes when he slotted Saracens’ first three points of the game after the visitors crept offside.
The hosts kicked on and, after Pennell’s long clearance was collected by Alex Goode, the full-back drove through the Worcester defence and sprayed the ball wide for returning winger Ratuvou to crash over. Jackson dragged the conversion attempt wide and Dale Rasmussen almost provided an instant response for the visitors but the centre failed to keep his feet just five yards from the whitewash.
Pennell did reduce the advantage after Saracens fell foul of the offside law, slotting home from in front of the posts on 21 minutes after fly-half Loki Crichton had been replaced by Joe Carlisle. The 21-year-old full-back repeated the trick from almost halfway and slowly but surely Ruddock’s men began to show the form that secured back-to-back wins against Sale and Newcastle.
However, Tuitupou’s yellow card for a late tackle on the impressive Goode five minutes before the break swung the momentum back to the hosts. Jackson was again found wanting with the boot but the fly-half appeared as the extra man to collect Farrell’s pass, cross in the corner and crush Worcester’s revival.
The Kiwi had missed four of his five kicks in the first half but rediscovered his aim two minutes into the second, comfortably slotting over from just right of the posts for three more Saracens points.
At the other end Pennell spurned the chance to reduce the deficit by sending his 58th-minute penalty wide. But South African signing Barritt raced away in the 73rd minute to score and secure the points.