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Sarries book a date at Twickenham

06 May 2005
Sarries book a date at Twickenham

Tries from Kevin Sorrell, Iain Fullarton and Ben Johnston were enough to see off a Worcester side who were barely at the races, and Saracens will meet either Gloucester or Newcastle at headquarters for a place in Europe's premier competition.

Saracens had their hopes of automatic Heineken Cup qualification dashed last week when they finished the Zurich Premiership season in fifth place, just a point behind Bath, and were forced into the lottery of the wild-card play-offs.

Although there was little quality in the match – certainly not enough to make any imprint on the Heineken Cup – Saracens responded to that disappointment by making all the running.

They were helped in no small part by the fact Worcester seemed completely drained after their dramatic finale to the regular season and the win over Northampton which preserved their Premiership status.

It is remarkable to think that the Warriors, given they only just avoided the drop, could even be in the running for a place in the Heineken Cup, but they seemed in no shape to take advantage of the opportunity.

They were particularly impotent going forward until the game was well and truly up, and what rare flashes of excitement there were in a desperate first half came from Saracens.

Johnson, England's forgotten man, twice threatened to slice through the Worcester defence and Fijian fly-half Nicky Little showed the odd moment of invention, but each time it came to nothing.

After Worcester kicker Tommy Hayes had missed an eighth-minute shot at goal, following a high tackle from Simon Raiwalui on Drew Hickey, Little gave Saracens the lead with a penalty on the quarter-hour mark.

Three minutes later Tevita Vaikona's angled run and delayed pass opened half a chance down the left, but Johnson planted his foot in touch with the try-line less than 10 metres away.

Vaikona then slipped after Saracens had executed a clever move through the three-quarters and in the end it took a spilled ball from Brown in the 41st minute to gift the hosts the opening try.

Scrum-half Moses Rauluni scooped up the loose ball, dashed into Worcester territory, and before the Warriors had any chance to reorganise, Little had swept it wide and Sorrell finished off in the corner.

Little missed the conversion from wide right and although referee Steve Lander played eight minutes of injury time, he could well have allowed for 80 and there would have still been no further excitement before the break.

Worcester could fare no better in the second half – their minds clearly on their European Shield final against Auch on May 21 – and Saracens once again dominated possession.

Finally the home side began to show some accuracy in their execution. After wasting a clear overlap, Saracens decamped into the Worcester half and when Taine Randell was halted just short of the line Fullarton took the ball on and touched down.

As Worcester tired, the space was opening up and Johnston scored the third try after 74 minutes following a 50-metre break from Saracens blindside flanker Ben Skirving.

Hayes scored a late consolation try for Worcester from an interception but Saracens will end their season where it all began eight months ago – with a date at Twickenham.

The scorers:

For Saracens:Tries: Sorrell, Fullarton, Johnston Cons: Jackson 2 Pens: Little 2, Jackson

For Worcester Warriors:  Try: Hayes Con: Hayes Pen: Hayes

For more news, try out Saracens v Worcester Warriors

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