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ONE FOR THE BIRDS
So it’s been quite a week but thoughts must now turn back to the rugby and to the visit of Ospreys for R2 of the European Champions Cup. Like Sarries, Ospreys were beaten last week except they were at home and their visitors were Munster. Like Racing, Munster opened with a 5-pointer and like Sarries, Ospreys came away empty handed. Ospreys are in 3rd and Sarries in 4th courtesy of a 1 point “points difference” – 19 versus 20. I suspect our European future probably hangs on this one. A good win and it stays in the forward plan, defeat and we write it off.
CAPS AND BERETS
So we journeyed to the land where they have no caps. Although this is not strictly true because everyone knows that the French wear berets, which are sort of peak-less caps,.... and carry onions on their bicycles. And when the Gilet Jaunes are in town the gendarmes wear Kepis which are French caps - but they don’t have caps in France if you follow me.
RACING TO 6?
Quite remarkably, a win at Le Defense arena would give Sarries a remarkable record of six in a row against Les Ciel et Bleu. These include two of my most treasured awaydays. Obviously Lyon in 2016 is etched in all our memories. Less so maybe, December 2010 in the rather less salubrious, snowbound Stade Yves du Manoir. I couldn’t tell you much about the game other than Brad scored in front of me. I can inform you the cameraman deserted his post under a barrage of snowballs, and the number of offers to spice up ones coffee was truly staggering! In many ways that hard fought win in hostile environs, I often look back and think of as one of the key steps in our development as a true European force.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
I should confess that despite having a ticket and being in the West Country on Saturday I didn’t go to the game. I was really quite annoyed, upset, discouraged during the week with the news. The puerile antics of the Gloucester management made me feel not unsafe, but probably likely to get into an argument or worse. Not trusting myself I didn’t go, but watched on TV accompanied by the odd whatsapp messages from the ground. I’m glad I didn’t go, the eventual result would have got me making some sort of vocal statement I probably would have regretted later on. It was pouring down twenty miles north but no wind so I was surprised that it seemed blustery on the TV. Still it was very wet and I was glad to be inside with beers in the fridge.
LETS GET BACK TO THE RUGBY
It hasn’t been the best week for our club or our fans. But on Saturday we play a game of rugby against Gloucester. Kingsholm is not the most comfortable place for away supporters and this Saturday anyone not expecting a hostile reception has been living on the moon. I admire and respect any Sarries’ fans who are making the trip, you all deserve a medal. Apparently demand for tickets is very high! At least we’re doing some good for rugby then – or maybe some of them thought they were booking tickets for the forthcoming Westlife Concert!
5 MINUTES THAT SAVED THE DAY
Five minutes left on the clock, Sarries trailing 8-13, the wind gusting, the rain pouring – a fitting end to a thoroughly miserable day. A number of “supporters” sitting around us had already decided to call it a day. In a way I couldn’t blame them but I remember saying to Little DG “wouldn’t it be funny if they missed the best bit of the game”. But that was exactly what came to pass.
BIG GAME SATURDAY
This Saturday there is a big game of rugby. 2 teams who know each other well. 2 squads of players who have been in training for this encounter for weeks. Britons and Saffers will be out there giving it all for their team (among others)……….oh and there is also another game in Japan between England and South Africa.
SARRIES SUFFOCATE TIGERS' TABBIES
As I write this on Monday morning, I look back on an extraordinary weekend. It began on Friday night with Bath determined to put behind them demolition by Bristol last weekend, and rightly beating a strangely out of sorts Exeter. Then we had the tremendous sight of Eddie Jones’s England facing what he calls the best team in the world, literally facing down the All Blacks during the preliminaries, then inviting them to play catch-up rugby for 78 minutes
INTO THE TIGERS' LAIR
A trip to Welford Road was always been a pretty daunting experience for Saracens – until recent seasons when it has been somewhat less of a fortress. In fact you have to go back to the 2015-16 season to find the last Premiership win for Leicester at home to their London rivals.
SARRIES STUTTER, SAINTS SATISFIED
Never late before this game, I missed the fireworks, two minutes walk away, and what seems to have been a well-celebrated penalty immediately after kick-off, whilst walking in from Gate C. However, I was in time for the next penalty, which took the score to 6-0. More interestingly, I was there for Will Skelton’s two audition pieces for the World Juggling Championships, a pair of gathers that saw him dextrously passing the ball to himself, hand to hand several times, as he dealt with passes that would scarcely be called accurate.