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Warriors v Saracens
This live event has finished
- WELCOME to the Worcester News' live blog of today's Aviva Premiership top-verses-bottom clash between Worcester Warriors and Saracens at Sixways (3pm).
- High-flying Sarries come to Worcester on the back of an impressive 49-10 mauling of Leicester Tigers, while winless Warriors are rooted to the foot of the table with just three bonus points from 10 outings.
Warriors manage to win their own scrum and Warwick has little choice but to walk over the dead ball line to bring the full-time whistle.
FINAL SCORE: Warriors 8-26 Saracens
With 17 seconds left, Sarries nearly break the second-half deadlock as Ben Spencer goes for the line from a ruck and off-loads to Jamie George, who can't hold on with a try beckoning.
Grove and Pennell carry the ball well into Sarries territory and the visitors play the ball on the floor. Pennell chips to the corner, but Nick Seymour over-throws the line-out (like he did at Gloucester last week) and the chance is gone.
Inisde the final five minutes and it has been a good battling second-half from Warriors who have, so far, held Saracens scoreless.
Admittedly, Sarries had wrapped up the four-try bonus in the first-half and haven't been going hell for leather, but still...
Good attendance at Sixways today: 9,301.
A small positive for Warriors is that Hodgson and Warwick have looked MUCH better half-backs than Su'a and Mieres.
Warwick breaks the line and makes good ground before firing a long pass out to Josh Drauniniu. Play comes back in field, but Pennell is held up in a choke tackle and Sarries win the put-in.
Sarries' line-out in their own 22 is called not straight and Warriors batter the line, but they cannot hold onto the ball again and are turned over.
We've now got an injury holding up play.....to one of the touch-judges, who has just been replaced.
Paul Warwick's cute cross-field kick nearly finds Chris Jones sprinting down the opposite touchline with a clear run to the line, but the big second row can only stretch out a boot to the ball and it goes into touch.
Sarries win a scrum penalty five metres from their own line and promptly replace their entire front row.
Warriors turn the ball over as James Percival looks to pick up from the base and go through a ruck, but is held up and smothered.
Warwick chips to the corner after Sarries are again forced to concede a penalty in their own 22.
There have been 15 scoreless minutes so far in this half, which is testament to Warriors' battling spirit.
Pressure from Saracens sees Warriors gradually retreat backwards from inside the 10m line to their own 22 courtesy of Warwick being charged down when a kick was never on. Pennell scrambes the ball to touch.
Warriors surge forward and it all becomes a bit scrappy. Su'a spots a gap and goes for the line, but spills the ball forward.
Brits is penalised on the floor now and Warriors go to the corner. Mieres off for Warwick.
The incident reviewed was a spell of handbags between RDC and Billy Vuniploa. The end result was a talking-to from the referee and no further action. Scrum 5 to Warriors.
Warriors pound away at the Sarries 5m line and the visitors cynically infringe again. We're off to the TMO to check what went on.
More ponderous play on the ball from Mieres leads to a turn-over. With every passing week, I become more certain he is not the answer for Warriors.
Mieres get the second-hgalf under way.
Andy Symons has failed to re-appear and has been replaced by Ravai Fatiaki.
@tomguestWN some good honest endeavour from Warriors but Sarries are a quality outfit and this is men against boys.— @Bigchap27 28 December 2013
@tomguestWN i think my 33-10 defeat was optimistic glad i didn't pay£38 now😞— @JohnBlewitt2 28 December 2013
@tomguestWN cricket score likely— @waynegeneer 28 December 2013
There goes the half-time whistle and Sarries already have a bonus point on board and lead 26-8.
The final passage of play of the half - a superb spell of slick off-loading and intelligent movement - showed just how far out of Worcester's league today's visitors are.
Warriors' commitment and perserverance cannot be faulty, but they fall down in the detail, where they are simply not precise enough.
TRY Warriors! Good fighting spirit from the Sixways men as the drive the line-out to the line, before Leo Senatore burrows over after several shunts from his forward colleagues.
Mieres misses the target again with the conversion.
Warriors 8-26 Saracens
Referee Garner speaks to Sarries captain Alistair Hargreaves as the visitors kill Warriors ball on the floor once again. Penalty to the home side 35 metres out, bang in front, but the situation dictates they go to the corner.
Mako Vunipola sin-binned for foul play as he elbows Alex Grove on the floor at a ruck. Garner uesed TMO to spot the offence.
This has been a chastening half for Warriors. Ryan's battlers started positively, but have been clinically dispatched by a far superior Saracens outfit.
Men against boys at the moment.
TRY Saracens! A brilliant bonus point try for Sarries from Charlie Hodgson. With the referee playing penalty advantage in the the Warriors 22, the fly-half spots a gapo, executes a brilliant chip and gathers it at pace to burst over beneath the sticks. Hodgson improves his own score.
Warriors 3-26 Saracens
Despite having more than matched their opponents for large parts of the game, Warriors have shipped 19 points in 26 minutes.
TRY Sarries! The visitors show why they are top of the league with a clinical score from full-back Alex Goode, who shreds through the defensive line, after being put away by Tim Streather.
Hodgson adds the extras.
Warriors 3-19 Saracens
Warriors probing again in the Sarries half, but Sam Betty takes the ball into contact and Worcester are guilty of sealing off.
Another lively break from Warriors, bvut Pennell opts to grubber kick through and the ball runs dead for Goode to dot down.
Chris Brooker's throw is not straight. These small details have constantly undermined Warriors this season.
Warriors come back again and Sarries are guilty of not rolling away just inside their half. Mieres finds a good touch inside the 22.
TRY Saracens! From a dreadful box-kick by Jeremy Su'a, Sarries go over for their second score.
The scrum-half's kick goes straight up and falls into Saracens hands, who go wide quickly. James Stephenson shoots out of the line to stop Shalk Brits in his tracks, but he gets the ball to Alex Goode, who exploits the gap.
Brits is then on hand again to burst over the line and hand Hodgson a simple conversion.
Warriors 3-12 Saracens
It's been a frantic start here at Sixways, with the hosts showing plenty of ambition to take the game to their table-topping visitors. Good to see.
Chris Pennell nearly runs into trouble in his own 22, but his pack are quickly on hand to help out and Mieres clears over the half-way line. Sarries then knock-on at the line-out.
TRY Saracens! Billy Vunipola made the initail break before off-loading superbly to his brother Mako. The ball went down the line and Chris Wyles' pass to David Strettle looked to be forward, but the try has been given.
Charlie Hodgson misses the conversion from out wide.
Sarries over in the corner, but referee Greg Garner has called for the TMO.
From the 22 and left of the sticks this time, Mieres tucks the ball just inside the upright.
Warriors 3-0 Saracens
Lovely off-load from Alex Grove to the rampaging Andy Symons and Saracens infringe again. Another chance for Warriors to open the scoring and the visitors look a little rattled at the moment.
From the 10-metre line and right of centre, the Argentine fly-half misses narrowly to the right of the posts.
Well, Warriors have certainly came out like a different side so far. Full of intensity and powerful ball-carrying. Sarries concede a penalty trying to stem the flow and Mieres is going for the posts.
BOOOOOSH! Sam Betty on Mako Vunipola forces a knock on and clears the danger for Warriors.
We're under way and Sarries are straight on the attack, turning down a simple three points to take a quick-tap through Richard Wigglesworth.
Charlie Hodgson then chips in behind and Ignacio Mieres can only carry the ball over for a scrum-five to Sarries.
Warriors' captain for the day Chris Pennell (Jonathan Thomas was ruled out by concussion) leads his side out.
Worcester are wearing their special light blue charity shirt today in support of local charity Acorns Childern's Hospice.
@tomguestWN think we've picked the right team to get the win today though. Not to mention the Vuinopolae combo— @FezUnite 28 December 2013
Just over 10 minutes to go here at Sixways. Is there any chance Dean Ryan's men can serve up an unlikely late Christmas present for the long-suffering Warriors fans?
@tomguestWN Heart says a repeat 12-3 my head says 15-29— @RugbyWorcs 28 December 2013
@tomguestWN 33-10 to them
— @JohnBlewitt2 28 December 2013
@tomguestWN Xmas wish @WorcsWarriors to win 21-18— @comeonuwarriors 28 December 2013
@tomguestWN do you want heart scores or head scores?— @RugbyWorcs 28 December 2013
RT @BigBreakers: @tomguestWN WILLING a win from Teesside. Still feel we're one victory away from a little spree. Praying for Sarries' compl…— @tomguestWN 28 December 2013
Here's today's two line-ups... http://t.co/2Vhkh2qiTb— @tomguestWN 28 December 2013
Meanwhile, centre Jon Clarke has been allowed to leave Warriors to join Championship outfit Leeds Carnegie on loan until the end of the season.
Former Warriors academy player Tim Streather starts for Sarries today and he will have a point to prove against the club that released him as a youngster. Read his thoughts here.
Here's the two line-ups as they were announced yesterday. Official team-sheets should be available any minute.
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