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'You're getting a perfect storm... a quite shocking outcome'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by PA)

Trending on RugbyPass

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Alex Sanderson is for sure incredibly busy trying to get the best from Sale in his first full season as their director of rugby, but that demanding schedule doesn’t stop him from keeping an eye on Saracens, the club where he played and coached as an assistant for the majority of his career. Whereas the Sharks have been coping with injuries and some inconsistent performances this season, the newly promoted Saracens have blazed a trail. 

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Having spent last season in the Championship following their automatic relegation for repeated breaches of the salary cap, the London club arrived back into the top-flight as the favourites by the bookies to clinch the title at the end of the 2021/22 season. 

They were controversially defeated at Leicester by a penalty try after the officials missed a penalty offence by Tigers’ Dan Kelly in the lead-up to that endgame, Kelly subsequently getting cited and banned for his collision with Aled Davies. 

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But Saracens have won their four other matches and the last two by a chasm – Bath getting hammered 71-17 at home and then Wasps were stung 56-15 last weekend at the StoneX. Just twelve months ago, those sides were contesting the playoffs in the delayed 2019/20 season but they look far from title challengers when steamrollered by Mark McCall’s side.   

With defending champions Harlequins next on the list for Saracens this Sunday, Sanderson has enjoyed what he has seen from afar. “My initial thought was brilliant, chuffed for them, well done and then you look at the whole game in context and the teams they were playing and the form they were in,” he told RugbyPass.

“Saracens are flying in terms of their form. They have got all their players back, they are highly motivated, particularly some of their big players because they want to get back into that England set-up against one team that was injury-stricken, had 16 injuries last week, and Bath, who were struggling to find their identity and still haven’t won a game. 

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“You are getting a perfect storm with two teams at the opposite end of the table, one who is flying and the other two teams that are struggling to find themselves and as a result, you get an outcome that is quite shocking and surprising. I don’t think Saracens will expect that form to continue over the course of the season, they certainly won’t when we play them (at the StoneX on November 28).

“It was just a circumstance of where they and those other two teams were at this particular point of time and it led to some particular high scoring games. Max Malins scored six tries, four of them in his leggings. I have been really impressed watching Saracens, they have found their own again.”

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