Saracens began their Premiership title defence with a bonus-point victory over Worcester Warriors
Two penalties from debutant Alex Lozowski gave Sarries a narrow 6-3 lead at the break
Tries from Jamie George, Lozowski, Schalk Burger and Ben Spencer secured the victory
BY STEVE SMITH
Twickenham has been the scene of some incredible rugby matches down the years, but a sloppy game between Saracens and Worcester, with the reigning Premiership champions easing to a bonus-point victory in the second half, won’t live long in the memory.
Sarries are bidding to become the first team to win three successive domestic crowns since 2005, but were well short of their fluent best against Warriors.
The reigning Premiership and Champions Cup holders controlled possession and territory early on but failed to penetrate Worcester’s concrete defence in the opening quarter although they did hold a narrow 3-0 lead thanks to a penalty from summer signing from Wasps, Lozowski.
Sarries continued to press, but Ryan Lamb’s penalty, smack bang in the centre of the sticks, levelled the scores for the Warriors. Nevertheless, a second Lozowski kick late in the half meant Sarries narrowly led at the break, 6-3.
Sarries extended their lead three minutes after the restart through Lozowski’s boot again before George touched down the opening try on his 150th Saracens appearance. Lozowski added the extras, 16-3.
Lozowski then found a gap to cross over the line after 51 minutes before stepping up and converting himself. After a nervy start, the man who started in place of the injured Owen Farrell had done very well.
Warriors James Johnston, who immediately put his hands up to apologise, was then yellow carded for high tackle on Lozowski with Saracens taking advantage almost immediately as debutant Burger forced his way over between the posts. Lozowski then added the simple extras, 30-3.
And Saracens didn’t let up as replacement scrum-half Ben Spencer showed fine individual quality to dance his way through and score his sides fourth try. Lozowski couldn’t add the extra points but the 35-3 bonus-point win was secured.
Saracens: Alex Lozowski
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Mike Ellery
Worcester Warriors: 15 Jackson Willison, 14 Dean Hammond, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Marco Mama, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Darren Barry, 4 Tevita Cavubati, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Val Rapava Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Na’ama Leleimalefaga, 18 James Johnston, 19 Christian Scotland-Williamson, 20 Alafoti Faosiliva, 21 Luke Baldwin, 22 Tom Heathcote, 23 Perry Humphreys