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Match Reaction: Worcester Warriors 31-29 Saracens

Match Reaction: Worcester Warriors 31-29 Saracens

Duncan Weir’s last-gasp penalty was decisive as Worcester produced a stunning late comeback to down Saracens in the final game of the regular season.

Tries from Nick Tompkins and Marcelo Bosch, coupled with 19 points from the boot of the impressive Tom Whiteley, saw the much-changed visitors assume an eight-point advantage with just 11 minutes left on the clock at Sixways.

But Josh Adams’ score brought the spirited Warriors back within a point, leaving Weir to seal the deal with a dramatic 83rd-minute kick from the tee.

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MAN OF THE MATCH

To say Tom Whiteley did not deserve to end up on the losing team is putting it lightly.

Unerring with the boot and the architect of Marcelo Bosch’s second-half score, the youngster continued his fine form in the Midlands after lifting the Premiership Rugby Shield on Monday.

Playing in a team shorn of their usual leaders, Whiteley was at the heart of just about all that was good about Saracens, taking responsibility in attack and directing his side around the pitch.

There was also a key try-saving tackle on GJ Van Velze in the opening period, which hinted at a steely resolve on top of his obvious talent.

On this evidence, a bright future may well await.

TRY OF THE MATCH

It’s rare to see a hooker produce the sort of dazzling footwork in midfield conjured by Ethan Waller during the first-half of Saturday’s clash.

So, when the 26-year-old sidestepped several tackles before feeding Michael Fatialofa, fans of both sides could have been forgiven for rubbing their eyes in disbelief.

This was midfield play of the highest order from the front row – and one of the standout moments of a see-saw game that left everyone in attendance on the edge of their seat.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

What else?

With the outcome of the match riding on his 83rd-minute kick, fly-half Weir kept his nerve to sign off the regular season in style.

So often the man for the big occasion, the Scotland international’s presence this season has been key to the Warriors preserving their Gallagher Premiership Rugby status.

Once again, his importance was outlined in the most tangible way here.

WHAT THEY SAID

Worcester Warriors centre Wynand Olivier: “I don’t think I could have wished for a more epic finish to the game and my career, it was unbelievable.

“To beat a side like Saracens, emotions are up there, swirling around.

“I’m sure it’ll kick in a bit later.

“I’m very fortunate to finish my career with a special game like that.”

Saracens debutant Andy Christie: “The boys went really well. We were solid in defence and attack and probably had them, but it was difficult to have that result at the end.

“They’re direct, they play wide well. In defence they were impressive.

“A lot of the time, the boys said it’s like running into brick walls.

“They brought it to us and it was disappointing not to get the result in the end.”

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