Triple injury blow for Saracens
October 23, 2011
Adam Powell scored the opening try in Sarries' win over Exeter © Getty Images
Saracens lost both Richard Wigglesworth and Jackson Wray to injury during their 43-20 Anglo Welsh-Cup win over Exeter on Sunday, while Matt Stevens was forced to withdraw from the match squad just before kick-off.
Wigglesworth hobbled off midway through the first half of the game at Vicarage Road with a knee problem and he was joined in the treatment room just ten minutes later by England Under-20s back-row Wray.
Saracens defence and forwards coach Paul Gustard said: "We don't know the extent of the injuries just yet but we'll get them scanned and assess them tomorrow [Monday]."
Meanwhile, Gustard explained that Stevens, who had been named on the bench, pulled out because of a back complaint. "Matt wanted to play this game but unfortunately had to withdraw," he said.
As for the game itself, Gustard was full of praise for the way in which Sarries had responded to their hammering at Northampton in round one, picking up a bonus point thanks to tries from Adam Powell, Rodd Penney, Owen Farrell and Hugh Vyvyan.
"Our performance last week wasn't up to the standards we normally set ourselves. We let ourselves down in certain areas," he said. "But today all 23 players, including some in positions they don't normally play, dealt with adversity really well."
Gustard was particularly enthused by the performances of fly-half Farrell, the son of former England international Andy, and replacement scrum-half Ben Spencer. As well as crossing for a try, Farrell also contributed five penalties and four conversions, while Spencer filled in well for the injured Wigglesworth.
"Both half-backs did well," he said. "Spencer will surely be knocking on the door for England 20s this year.
"Owen has got a lot of inner drive. He comes from pretty good stock himself, of course, and he's very competitive. Last year he played 18 or 19 games on the spin, took us to the Premiership final and won us the final so we know what he can do."
Meanwhile, Exeter head coach Rob Baxter was far from downhearted given that he had fielded an experimental line-up in Watford.
"We were pretty pleased with how things were going and we were getting it right until about 20 minutes to go," he said after watching his side rack up two tries, through lock Chris Bentley and fullback Myles Dorrian.
"It's hard to criticise the boys but we did it trying to chase the game and, tactically, started to get it a bit wrong. We put a couple of poor kicks into the air which then almost made us lock down and stopped us kicking at all - but you have got to kick tactically when the opposition are coming at you with a blanket defence.
"You have still got to play territory and try and control the game but in the last 20 minutes we put pressure on ourselves."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship
When the Great War broke out, rugby in Australia and New Zealand initially soldiered on. Rewind looks back