Worcester finished their home season in style with a hard-fought 40-27 victory over a severely weakened Saracens at Sixways. Warriors took advantage of the visitors’ limited strength to score six tries, with Francois Hougaard scoring two and Noah Heward, Ashley Beck and Ted Hill also going over and there was also a penalty try award.

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Charlie Watson and Ali Crossdale both scored two tries for Saracens with Manu Vunipola adding two conversions and a penalty. It took Worcester just over three minutes to take the lead. The hosts declined a kickable penalty in favour of a driving lineout and following a succession of forward surges, Hougaard forced his way over.

Saracens, who gave youth a fling after their European elimination, soon responded with their first try when mistakes from Ethan Waller and Melani Nanai gifted the visitors a platform in the Warriors’ 22. From there, Juan Pablo Socino brushed away a weak tackle from Billy Searle to provide Watson with an easy run-in.

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The Rugby Pod discusses the end of an era at Saracens

Worcester regained the lead when a well-judged chip ahead from Hougaard was collected by Heward to score only for the home side to blow the restart and allow Rotimi Segun to seize possession and provide Watson with his second. Vunipola’s touchline conversion brought the scores level at 14-14 at the end of an enterprising first quarter.

It was Worcester’s turn to score and they duly did when Saracens’ full-back Elliott Obatoyinbo was yellow carded as he knocked down a scoring pass with referee Karl Dickson awarding a penalty try. Warriors took advantage of their numerical superiority to score their bonus-point try when a flowing three-quarter move ended with Hougaard collecting Heward’s chip ahead to score his second.

The seventh try of the first half came just before the interval when poor defence from the hosts allowed Crossdale an opportunist’s try to leave Saracens trailing 28-19 at the interval. Seven minutes after the restart, Saracens picked up a second yellow card when Richard Barrington, was in-binned for collapsing a driving maul.

However, Warriors could not take advantage of the prop’s absence and surprisingly the third quarter finished scoreless with Crossdale coming closest to adding to the scoreboard but the wing put a foot in touch before grounding the ball.

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Saracens became increasingly dominant and deservedly picked up the first score of the second half when Vunipola knocked over a simple penalty but Worcester regrouped to seal victory with tries from Hill and Beck. However spirited Saracens deserved something from the game and they obtained it with Crossdale scoring his second for a losing bonus point.

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