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HEAVY TRAFFIC JAM IN SALE
In today’s Daily Telegraph, Richard Bath writes up the two games of the AP played last night. Falcons against Bath gets a third of a page. Sale against Sarries gets one sentence: ‘Saracens won 13-3 at Sale to reclaim top spot, with Welshman Liam Williams scoring the game’s only try after 13 minutes.’ That relative weight of reporting might be unfair, and I cannot judge fairness because I wasn’t at Kingston Park. However, after watching the Sale game, many independent watchers might have wondered whether any reporter could have written more than the 21 words that the Telegraph’s reporter managed to grind out. After all, when team coaches describe any game as an arm-wrestle we all know that they mean it was a dreary slog, with little skill and much mutual prevention of the exercise of skill or imagination.
SALING AWAYON A FRIDAY NIGHT
A 6 day turnaround for the squad and a Friday night fixture in the frozen north aka Salford! Friday nights this season have been pretty even –a good away win at Wuss and a disappointing loss away at Castle Grim. So I guess that tees this one up for a draw!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU
It seems we were invited to a party, a birthday party. I assume, having been in Costa Rica for 3 weeks, I missed out on the invitation but it didn’t seem to matter. The more the merrier. It was Allianz Park’s 5th Birthday and all were welcome. We were offered cake (with slightly dubious blue icing) and cider to help us celebrate. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t playing ball and Allianz Park was draped in grey clouds and heavy drizzle. Still it didn’t dampen our spirits (well not too much).
FALCONS IN TOWN
After a month away with European and Anglo Welsh fixtures we return this weekend to Allianz Park for the Aviva Premiership clash between Saracens and Newcastle Falcons.
SARACENS OUT BUT NOT DOWN
Travelling down to Devon on Friday evening it was unclear whether this game would be a dead rubber or if either team had anything to play for. However with a strong Saints selection turning over Quins Sarries fate was sealed, while Quins coming away with nothing from the Gardens gave Exeter the chance to win their group with a try bonus point win.
Exeter vs Sarries Anglo Welsh Cup
Six nations begin, 6 international teams going for glory and lots of premiership players on the international stage, however that said the domestic competitions do not stop, this week is the final pool games of the Anglo Welsh Cup, and Saracens travel down to last season's Anglo Welsh runners up Exeter cheifs!
Sarries pull Dragons’ teeth
It is not easy to report on a game played in such conditions of wind and wet that making notes at the time was impossible, and which has no TV coverage to record and watch afterwards. Instead, therefore, I must pad out this report by writing about impressions and people.
After a spectacular final group stage weekend in Europe it's back to domestic rugby, in what is ultimately a development competition Saracens take on Dragons at Allianz Park on Saturday at 3pm, both teams currently not in the driving seats in their respective pools, however with this complex system of teams playing teams in other pools, mathematically both teams can still qualify for the Semi finals.
Saints on their knees…
But Sarries are in no mood to hear their prayers.
THE ONE WE HAVE TO WIN (WITH A BONUS POINT) #2
So the reigning Double European Champions are sitting in the last chance saloon. And someone else is choosing the drinks! I think it probable, rather than possible, that this weekend, Saracens will fail to qualify for the quarter finals of the European Cup for the first time since 2011. Their fate is no longer in their own hands.