December 12 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Saracens winger David Strettle believes Owen Farrell’s boot could have a big say in the outcome of Sunday’s showdown against Bath as the fly-half closes in on an Aviva Premiership milestone.
The goal-kicker is just 10 points shy of joining the top flight’s 500 club, and Strettle feels his team-mate could have a decisive impact this weekend – just like two years ago, when his last-gasp penalty cannoned off both posts to secure a 28-26 victory over Bath at The Rec.
This weekend’s instalment sees the league’s top two sides and best sharpshooters go head-to-head at Allianz Park.
Farrell currently leads the kicking charts with 39 points to his name, 11 more than second placed Bath hotshot George Ford.
It’s the same story with Sarries topping the early league standings after successive bonus point victories; while the second-placed south-west side beat reigning champions Leicester to maintain their winning start.
“Bath are on the back of two wins on the bounce and we know it’s going to be a very tough game and some games that are very tight are decided by the boot,” said Strettle, who bagged a brace of tries in last week’s 44-12 win over 14-man Gloucester.
“Hopefully we’ll be in a position where it’s not and we can get the win but I remember playing at Bath two years ago where it was decided by the last kick of the game, when Owen hit the posts and it went over.
“The real tough games are decided by really fine margins.”
Farrell is also 10 points shy of joining the top-flight 500 club, but Strettle thinks that the approaching landmark will barely register with the youngster.
“I’m sure in Owen’s career there will be many records broken so I doubt he will pay attention to it,” the wing said.
“He might look back after his career and appreciate it a little bit more but he just goes about his business and he’ll be the first one to tell you that he’ll be happy to get it but it’s not his main focus.”
Strettle’s double against Gloucester moved him into the Premiership top five try-scorers this season, while Saracens have already notched a league highest nine scores.
It’s a stark contrast to their last campaign which, built on a mean defence, saw them register just 41 tries in the regular season – the lowest tally by any side to have finished top of the table.
Strettle hopes his side can continue in a rich scoring vein and thinks the artificial pitch at their Hendon headquarters is already providing dividends.
He said: “It [the surface] does allow for a cleaner game and whether it’s something psychological because you’re playing on Astroturf, or whether other teams try to play a bit more expansive, I don’t know, but since we’ve been playing on it we’ve scored a lot more tries.”
Towards the end of last season, director of rugby Mark McCall insisted that Strettle was in his best form for three years and his second try against Gloucester was a well-taken solo effort, which hinted that the marksman may have carried on where he left off.
“It’s always great when your coaches sing your praises,” he said, adding: “Every player wants to play his best week in, week out.
“I do find on the wings that you are sometimes at the mercy of how the game is going.
“Some weeks the ball doesn’t come my way and other weeks it doesn’t go Ashy’s way [Chris Ashton], which can be frustrating.
“Everyone focuses on the try-scorers but I’ve seen wingers have phenomenal games but not score any tries, so people don’t pay attention to them.
“You just want to got out there and do your best for the team and if you get on the try sheet it’s great, but there are many different ways of putting in great performances.”