VIDEO: Gloucester up for Sarries test

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:42

REACTION: A revitalised Gloucester will be put to the test when they face the Premiership leaders Saracens at Kingsholm on Friday, November 17.

The Premiership take a two-week break, amidst the international season, but Round Eight fixture come off the back of impressive victories for both hosts Gloucester and the table-topping Sarries.

Saracens ensured Exeter Chiefs stay at the top of the Premiership table was short-lived with a 44-13 success over London Irish to move back to the summit.

The Chiefs moved to top spot last Friday, but on Saturday Saracens scored five tries in the second half, with Nathan Earle grabbing two off the bench, to earn a bonus point win.

Then on Sunday Owen Williams' clutch conversion, seven minutes into added time clinched a remarkable derby-day victory for Gloucester at the Rec.

They beat bitter rivals Bath 22-21, denying the home crowd the triumph they thought they had earned when Semesa Rokoduguni put them ahead with just five minutes remaining.

It was an understandably delighted Johan Ackermann that said he was proud of the way that his team responded to adversity, coming from behind to snatch a memorable win at the Rec on Sunday.

The Gloucester flyhalf, Williams, said he was trying to compose himself and control his breathing before that kick.

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"I know how big of a kick it was, but it was just important to control my processes and as soon as I saw it going through the posts, I let out a big scream," he said.

"It's relief to win as we were in the game throughout and we just managed to stay in the game despite going behind late on.

"We'll have to see how it goes in the Wales camp next week and put in the hard work. Hopefully, I can have a good week's training and push my cause and stick my hand up.

"I'll play anywhere for Wales, whether it's at 10, 12 or prop."

Bath director of rugby Todd Blackadder added: "I thought Gloucester deserved it. I didn't feel at all during that game that we were good enough to win.

"We didn't probably show enough at the breakdown, our carries were high, but we just weren't quite at the races today and it showed.

"We let them back into it with 30 seconds to go and some ill-discipline. We're our own worst enemies at times.

"[Sam Underhill] has had a bit of a ‘stinger' down the back of his neck and felt a little uncomfortable there. It was just not worth taking a risk so we took him off."

Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall said: Goode had a magnificent game in every respect.

"They kicked the ball a lot and we had to be good and secure under the high ball," McCall said

"But when their kicks became a bit more wayward his counter-attacking ability, to set the game on fire he knows where space is. His contribution to the fourth try was amazing.

"Liam Williams has perhaps surprised a few people just how good an all-round a player he is. He's unbelievable in the air but does score tries and is aggressive, physical and a brilliant defender."

London Irish Director of Rugby Nick Kennedy added: "We have to play and concentrate for 80 minutes but I thought that last half hour was just about how good Saracens are, they're years ahead of us on our journey," he said.

"We've been together a very short time, especially in the Premiership, we're seven games into our re-building.

"We have ended every game strongly so far, we have been winning second halves and backing our fitness and seem to get better as the games gone on but today was the opposite."

Source: @premrugby

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