Rugby Union
Warriors exit LV= Cup after defeat to Sarries

By Geoff Berkeley Monday 04 February 2013 Updated: 06/02 09:54

Worcester Warriors 12 Saracens 22

LV= Cup

WORCESTER Warriors crashed out of the LV= Cup as they succumbed to an understrength Saracens side at Sixways on Saturday.

Warriors needed at least a bonus point victory to give themselves a shot of securing top spot in Pool Two.

But an early try from Saracens number eight Ernst Joubert set the tone for the afternoon.

Tries from Blair Cowan and Josh Drauniniu kept Warriors in touch before the boot of Ben Spencer took over to send Saracens clear and booked the Londoners a place in the last four.

With Warriors' hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages hanging by a thread, head coach Richard Hill still opted to field a strong line-up in preparation for the resumption of the Aviva Premiership next week.

He also wanted to see a vast improvement in defence after his side leaked six tries away to London Irish.

But despite all their hours of hard work on the training pitch with defence coach Phil Larder in mid-week, Saracens broke Worcester's resistance within the opening three minutes when the ball was sent wide to Joubert, who side-stepped the last man to score.

Both teams traded kicks to look for a position to play from, but it was Saracens who had started the better and were using the difficult conditions to greater effect.

Good work from Alistair Hargreaves, Nick Auterac and Petrus du Plessis saw Sarries make ground before Warriors were penalised to see Spencer extended his side's advantage.

But the hosts responded well and hit back five minutes later. After the forwards drove up close with a driving line-out, another huge surge sent Cowan crashing over. Andy Goode added the extras to cut back the deficit to 10-7.

Worcester then went on to enjoy their best spell of the match as strong running from Chris Pennell and Drauniniu put the visitors on the back foot.

But Hill's men could not turn possession into points as Saracens held firm under relentless pressure.

Warriors then found themselves further behind when Spencer slotted home a penalty on the stroke of half time.

Despite the blow, Worcester began the second period in positive fashion and eventually got the first points on the board. Goode produced a pin-point cross-field kick for Drauniniu, who had started the move with a blistering run from deep, to touch down in the corner.

Warriors were now trailing Saracens by a point, but penalties were costing the hosts as Spencer added another three points.

After hitting the upright with his next attempt, the fly half made amends with two penalties in the final ten minutes to wrap up the victory.

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