Not to be at Allianz
A breezy Allianz Park in Barnet played host to Saracens vs Northampton in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday afternoon. It was a windy, grey overcast afternoon in north London. Allianz park had very difficult place for Northampton in the recent past having lost the last 8 games here in a row. Was today going to be the day that we changed this?
Unfortunately in the warm up I had to pull out of the game. I had picked up a bang on my hip during the week and had tried everything possible to be fit for the game. I had an injection before the warm up to numb it but that didn’t work, if anything it made it worse. This meant that our backline had to be shuffled around rather a lot. George Furbank who has been playing so well at fullback had to move into fly half. He has never really played here before and considering this, he did a pretty good job on a difficult day. This meant that Tom Collins started the game on the wing and Ah see Tuala moved from wing to full back.
Saracens started the game very well. They came out of the blocks hissing and got a real rumble on. The north London side are very similar to French teams. What I mean by this is that they have a very big heavy forward pack and if you don’t stop them at source they play on top of you and they become very difficult to stop. As you would expect by one of the top teams in Europe they took the early opportunities they created and before you knew it they had raced out to a 30 point lead by half time. This wasn’t how we wanted the first half to go. We didn’t win any collisions in defence, which makes it very hard to slow down their ball and in attack we didn’t hold onto the ball for any real amount of time. At half time Chris Boyd Northampton’s director of rugby set a challenge for the team, to go out and win the second half and to show some fight. Northampton did just that for the next 40 minutes. They defended their hearts out and they managed to score a couple of tries as well. Saracens did end up running out comfortable winners, but Northampton ended up winning the second half. I think this second half performance shows how far the group has come in a short space of time. Last year we were guilty of rolling over and that game would have ended up 50 or 60 points in favour of Saracens. However this time, we managed to stop the flow of points and Carries ended up winning 36-17. Unfortunately we didn’t come away with any points from the game, but we get another opportunity next week to go and get some more league points.
We welcome Bristol Bears to Franklins Gardens this Saturday afternoon. They are a very dangerous team who have turned over some of the premierships big teams this year, one being Gloucester last week! It won’t be an easy task to beat these boys from the West Country as they are fighting to push up the league! The previous fixture was one for the spectators with Saints ending up 45-40 winners. Fingers crossed the game on Saturday isn’t quite as close as that. Hopefully see as many of you there cheering the boys on, we really appreciate all the continued support.
As always, have a brilliant week!