Saracens aspirations to finish top of the Premiership table took a huge blow in their defeat at the hands of lowly Worcester last weekend.
Saracens have looked close to unbeatable in recent games and it was looking increasingly likely they would catch and overtake Harlequins before the regular season was complete.
Things looked set to take the usual path when Sarries took an early 8-0 lead. They outclassed Worcester all over the field in the first half and it looked like a potential massacring for the newly promoted side. The Worcester defence constantly looked like cracking and Saracens looked almost certain to add to their opening try.
Late in the first half though Worcester got on the scoreboard through an Andy Goode penalty, which they swiftly followed up with a try from Alex Grove to give themselves a 10-8 lead at the break. From a seemingly comfortable position Saracens found themselves trailing at the break and looking shell shocked.
The second half was a tense affair with two penalties for Worcester and a sole kick for Saracens being the only scores. Worcester eventually ran out 16-11 winners and effectively secured their Premiership future.
The defeat in itself was a blow for Saracens, but coupled with Harlequins defeat at the hands of Gloucester, they have missed a real chance to close the gap at the top of the table to less than a single victory. As things go though they will now have a nervous eye looking over their shoulder. Northampton and Leicester now sit just four and five points off the reigning Champions with Gloucester, Exeter and Sale not much further back.
Sarries Coach Mark McCall was understandably disappointed with his team’s performance highlighting the fact that in a 30 minute period of complete dominance they missed a number of key chances. To have dominated for such a period, with the penalty count at 12-1 in Saracens favour and camp well and truly set up in the opposition’s 22 a lead of more than 8 points should have been built up. McCall is calling for a instant response, demanding his side be “more disciplined and more composed.”
Having now lost two on the bounce Saracens will be looking for a quick response. Their next game is not much easier, they face third place Northampton on Sunday and a heavy defeat could see them lose second place to the Saints.