GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP: WORCESTER 22 SARACENS 8
Worcester boss Mike Ruddock hopes his side can enjoy a European Challenge Cup run in the remainder of the season after securing their Guinness Premiership status with a 22-8 win over Saracens.
The only try of the match came from young centre Alex Grove in the second half, while New Zealand full back Willie Walker, on-loan from neighbours Gloucester, kicked 14 of his side’s points.
Fly half Matthew Jones kicked the other penalty while all Saracens could muster was one Gordon Ross penalty and a late David Seymour try.
Worcester now play Brive in the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals next weekend, having reached last year’s final where they lost to Bath.
It was their third game in six days, having lost to both Bristol and Harlequins, and Ruddock was satisfied with the way it went.
The director of rugby said: “It was a good defensive display by us. We used the wind in the first half and our kicking game probably let us down then.
“Then, in the second half, we started to play a bit of rugby and it was a good try by Grovesy.
“So it was not the perfect performance but it was much better than the last two.
“It was a bit more like the defensive and positive attitude we saw against Gloucester and Wasps in the last few games we have had as well.
“It is quite a ruthless league and we are pleased we have picked-up the wins we needed here. What we have is the capability of beating those top sides and be a top side ourselves. What we haven’t got is the mental toughness to do that week-in and week-out.
“Now we want to finish as high up the table and get as many points and wins as we can. What we have to do is refocus and look at the European Challenge Cup.
“We got to the final last year and now we have the opportunity against Brive, who are a very good side, to play with a little less pressure on us and go out and enjoy that.
“We can get the confidence from this game, go out and try to win that game and then get to the semi-final.”
Ruddock also said he ‘did not see’ and had no complaint from his captain Alex Sanderson about any apparent eye-gouging that the former England flanker appeared to complain to referee Chris White about in the first half.
Saracens assistant coach Richard Graham, however, said his dressing room was ‘very quiet’ after a poor display which condemned them to an eighth straight away Premiership loss.