Gallagher Premiership: Saracens 25 Worcester 17
PUBLISHED: 17:30 29 December 2018
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Saracens returned to winning ways with a battling triumph over a resilient Worcester Warriors, despite trailing at half-time at Allianz Park.
Mark McCall’s men shipped a pair of early scores to the energetic Warriors before tries from Calum Clark and David Strettle turned the tide after the break.
Capitalising on Exeter’s shock defeat at Northampton Saints, Saracens went some way to repairing their defeat at Sandy Park last time out but stay second in the Gallagher Premiership behind the Chiefs.
Worcester shocked the hosts as they made the perfect start, taking the lead when Francois Hougaard reacted first with the ball popping out of a ruck before offloading to the alert Duncan Weir, who sped to the corner despite the efforts of Alex Goode.
Weir added the extras from the tightest of angles as the hosts struggled to get a foothold in proceedings.
And with Saracens faltering, the Warriors pounced once more as Perry Humphreys broke the line on halfway before being hauled down by Ben Spencer, with Ben Te’o first on the scene to gratefully receive an offload and dot down under the sticks on his return to the side.
Weir added the simplest of conversions, but the Warriors’ second try seemed to awaken the beast.
Alex Lozowski burst through the Worcester ranks as the hosts looked to claw back a score, but they were made to settle for a penalty as Owen Farrell reduced the arrears.
Saracens thought they had grabbed their first try of the match when Will Skelton burrowed over with Warriors defenders hanging off him, but the second-row lost control of the ball as he stretched for the line and, with the help of TMO, the score was disallowed.
Mako Vunipola made the breakthrough when the Saracens forwards drove over from a lineout with the prop crashing down on the half-hour mark, but Farrell spurned the conversion.
Weir hit back with a penalty and Farrell replied with another of his own, but it was Worcester who took an unlikely 17-11 lead into the break.
Saracens’ start to the second half sat in stark contrast to their opening in the first as they went close on several occasions, with only a combination of handling errors and solid rearguard action from the Warriors keeping them at bay.
But McCall’s side took the lead for the first time in the contest when Clark made the most of an overlap to score and Farrell converted to make it 18-17.
Substitute Strettle buffed the lead, charging through on his return from injury to break Warriors hearts with what was to be the final score of an attritional contest.