WORCESTER Warriors’ run in the Premiership Cup came to an end as a clinical Saracens side booked their place in the final with a four-try 38-22 triumph at Sixways.

Tries from Tom Whiteley and Rotimi Segun in the opening 10 minutes sent Sarries on their way as they took their chances when they came and defended stoutly.

Worcester turned pressure into points in the second half with Nick David scoring and Tom Howe bagging another brace.

But there was to be no comeback on this occasion as scores from Max Malins and Sione Vailanu and 18 points from the boot of Alex Lozowski steered the visitors to victory.

Sports reporter Geoff Berkeley picks out five talking points from Friday night’s semi-final defeat.


If you did not know the final score and just looked at the statistics you would assume Warriors ran out comfortable winners.

With 78 per cent possession and 80 per cent territory Worcester had more than enough ball to put Sarries to the sword.

But the visitors’ defensive line-speed and dogged work at the breakdown frustrated the hosts, especially in the first half.

On a couple of occasions Warriors held onto the ball for about 20 phases yet they failed to break through Sarries who clocked up 274 tackles compared to Worcester’s 68.

The home side also lacked a bit of invention at times, with their one-off runners unable to make much of an impression but you have got to give the London club credit.


While Worcester got little reward for their first-half territorial dominance, the men in red scored points almost every time they entered their opponent’s half.

They made the most of Warriors’ errors as Scott van Breda’s grubber kick was charged before Darren Barry’s failure to gather the ball allowed Whiteley to kick ahead and touch down.

Worcester were undone by Ali Crossdale’s brilliant arcing run for Sarries’ second score as Segun went over in the corner.

Just when Warriors appeared to be clawing their way back in the second half then they left a gaping hole in defence which Malins exploited to score before the fly-half strode through open space again in the lead-up to Vailanu’s try.

The hosts were also guilty of conceding penalties in kickable positions as Lozowski kept hitting the target.


If Howe is not in the squad for Warriors’ league trip to Harlequins next week then it’ll hard to think of anything more he can do.

The wing is also without a new contract despite increasing his tally to seven tries in seven games this season and 16 in 18 in the past two campaigns.

As well as having the knack of popping up in the right places to finish off chances he is also able to produce something out of nothing.

Little appeared to be on for Howe when he darted down the right but after kicking the ball in behind the wing raced onto it, gathered, stepped inside and dived over.

Howe needs to be retained before another club swoops in to poach this lethal finisher.


There was plenty of debate over boss Alan Solomons’ decision to rest his key men for what was Worcester’s first semi-final in a major competition in a decade.

But with only a five-day turnaround and a Premiership clash with Quins coming up it was perhaps no surprise.

Although it would have been nice to go all-out for silverware Worcester’s bid to retain their top-flight status remains the priority.

And when you saw hooker Niall Annett and full-back Nick David leave the field with their arm in a sling it highlighted why Solomons could not afford to risk the likes of Jack Singleton and Chris Pennell.

Weir made a difference when he came on at fly-half but Solomons was probably more relieved to see the Scot come through unscathed.


It’s a very rare sight to see Warriors in knockout rugby action yet just over 5,000 fans were at Sixways to roar on the players.

The fact the semi-final was confirmed last Sunday – just five days before the game – did not help the chance of a big crowd nor the lack of Saracens supporters making the journey.

But costing just £10 for non-season ticket holders I’m surprised there were not more bums on seats for such an historic game.

Speaking to Ethan Waller and Solomons in midweek they were both hoping for a bumper attendance so I’d imagine they were a little deflated to see the north and south stands empty.