The action never stops for Gallagher Premiership sides, as Worcester Warriors, Saracens, Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons battled for a place in the Premiership Rugby Cup final.
After two entertaining clashes Saracens and Northampton Saints came away as winners and will contest the final in March.
Worcester Warriors 22 vs 38 Saracens
The Warriors were looking to reach their first major domestic final after topping their group that contained their semi-final opponents. Unfortunately a fast start by the visitors gave their hosts an uphill battle. Tries from Tom Whiteley and Rotemi Segun within the first 15 minutes set the tone, and two Alex Lozowski penalties cemented a three score lead at half time, at 3-18 to Saracens.
Worcester replied with the first two tries in the second half but a further two scores from Saracens took the visitors out of sight and into the final.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) February 8, 2019
It was a slightly disappointing occasion at Sixways, understandably so given the match timing. With Worcester’s semi final place only confirmed on Sunday evening, the club was only given five days to plan and sell tickets for a milestone match. Even without being on a Six Nations matchday, a crowd of only around 5000 assembled for this match. In comparison, over 8000 people attended England U20 vs France U20 at Exeter the day after.
Northampton Saints 59 vs 33 Newcastle Falcons
In the second semi final the tries flowed even heavier, and eventually Northampton Saints triumphed 59-33 in a 14 try thriller. Given that they were twice 21 points down, this result was a remarkable comeback. Three Newcastle tries in 15 minutes from Tane Takalua, Josh Matavesi and Vereniki Goneva looked to have brought some cheer to the Falcons, who of course sit bottom of the Gallagher Premiership table. Saints hit back with tries from George Furbank, Ahsee Tuala and Lewis Ludlam but still trailed at the break.
Boy. We have got a game on our hands here. Saints trailed by 21, but this Cup semi-final is ALIVE
— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) February 9, 2019
Both teams then exchanged their fifth tries early in the second half and they were locked at 33-33. Then Northampton pulled away. Orchestrated by James Grayson at fly-half, who also converted seven of their nine tries, Saints scored four further tries in the last 30 minutes.
As the scoreline suggests, there was some extravagant attacking play on show and the final couple of tries resulted from quick, offloading play; notably the score for Luther Burrell on 68 minutes. As a result Northampton Saints reached their first final since 2014.
Premiership Rugby Cup Final: Northampton Saints vs Saracens
These results mean Franklin’s Gardens will host the Premiership Rugby Cup final on Sunday 17th March. Northampton will certainly fancy themselves at home, even against the impressive Saracens Cup team.
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