Gloucester miss out on play-offs despite rout of second-string Saracens

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Gloucester miss out on play-offs despite rout of second-string Saracens - GETTY IMAGES
Gloucester miss out on play-offs despite rout of second-string Saracens - GETTY IMAGES

A second-string Saracens side shipped 54 points as Gloucester ran riot at Kingsholm, but Mark McCall has urged his critics to judge them on next weekend’s mouthwatering Premiership semi-final against defending champions Harlequins.

This may have been the second heaviest defeat Saracens have ever endured in the Premiership, but McCall cut a relaxed figure in the stands with a home semi-final already secured before kick-of.

As a result, the director of rugby opted to make XV changes to his starting line-up in a bid to keep his key players fit for next weekend’s clash with Harlequins. Despite shipping eight tries against a relentless Gloucester outfit, McCall was equally as relaxed after the game.

Saracens will welcome back the likes of Billy and Mako Vunipola, Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, and Vincent Koch next weekend, and McCall has urged critics of his team selection to judge his side after the Harlequins game.

“We took a decision over what was best for us we felt, and we’ll see next week whether that’s a good decision or not,” said McCall.

“I was the person who made all the changes to the team. We’d taken the decision to rest our XV for next week, and we’ll see next week whether that’s paid off or not.

“It’s always disappointing when you lose by that margin. I’m not sure if the score reflected the effort, we put into the match to be honest.

“Their rolling maul was too good for us today.”

From the first kick-off there was only one winner with the Cherry & Whites far superior to their weakened opponents in every facet of play. Unfortunately for Gloucester they fell just two points short of making the play-off after Northampton’s 65-26 annihilation of Newcastle Falcons.

The home sides driving line-out has proven to be a potent weapon all season, and so it proved again at Kingsholm. Jack Singleton powered over from short-range courtesy of a well-worked driving line-out, and a lovely inside pass from Ben Meehan sent Jordy Reid over for their second try.

Dynamic Gloucester hooker Singleton put in an eye-catching performance with a tremendous 45 metre break down the touchline putting the Cherry & Whites in another strong position. Gloucester went to the right, and a delayed pass from Hastings released Santiago Carreras who scored their third try. Hastings added the extras to give Gloucester a commanding 21-0 lead at the interval.

Things went from bad to worse for Saracens in the early stages of the second-half with second-row Tim Swinson sent to the sin bin for a high shot on Gloucester wing Ollie Thorley. And not for the first time the hosts turned to their driving line-out which resulted in Singleton bagging a brace of tries.

Saracens were at sixes and sevens defensively, and a neat backs move sent Carreras through a gap with the Argentinian offloading for Thorley to finish. Santiago Socino claimed Gloucester’s sixth try from another driving line-out, before Max Malins grabbed a try back for Saracens. Undoubtedly the try of the game came when an outrageous offload from Hastings released Reid who chipped which allowed Louis Rees-Zammit to show his pace to score. Jack Clement then crossed late on to rub further salt into Saracens’ wounds.

Louis Rees-Zammit of Gloucester Rugby touches down for the seventh try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Saracens at Kingsholm Stadium on June 04, 2022 in Gloucester, England. - GETTY IMAGES
Louis Rees-Zammit of Gloucester Rugby touches down for the seventh try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Saracens at Kingsholm Stadium on June 04, 2022 in Gloucester, England. - GETTY IMAGES

Despite their failure to make the play-offs Gloucester have improved significantly under their head coach George Skivington. Last season they finished in 11th position, but a huge turnaround means they will be playing in the Heineken Champions Cup next season. And Skivington is confident there’s a lot more to come from the Cherry & Whites.

"The foundation is that we have a really good group of players who work really hard. There are good people, good leaders in there,” said Skivington. "I’ve seen an unbelievable work ethic, and it was a good foundation to kick on this season. We haven't been perfect, we've had loads of games we've left really disappointed because we have just lost.

"We were defensively so good today. There is a huge amount for us to work on. If we want to be a top team year after year, we've got to get better in a lot of areas.”

Match details

Scores: 5-0 Singleton try, 7-0 Hastings con, 12-0 J Reid try, 14-0 A Hastings con, 19-0 S Carreras try, 21-0 A Hastings con, 26-0 J Singleton try, 31-0 O Thorley try, 33-0 A Hastings Con, 38-0 S Socino try, 40-0 A Hastings con, 40-5 M Malins try, 40-7 M Vunipola con, 45-7 L Rees-Zammit try, 47-7 A Hastings try, 52-7 J Clement try, 54-7 A Hastings con,

Gloucester: S Carreras; L Rees-Zammit, C Harris (B Twelvetrees 70), G Kveseladze, O Thorley (J May 55); A Hastings, B Meehan (C Chapman 70); V Rapava-Ruskin (H Elrington 51), J Singleton (S Socino 53), K Gotovtsev (F Balmain 70), F Clarke, M Alemanno (A Davidson 75), J Reid, L Ludlow (capt) (J Clement 59), R Ackermann

Saracens: E Obatoyinbo; M Malins (J Hallett 64), A Lozowski, D Taylor, B Harris (D Morris 49); M Vunipola, I Van Zyl (R de Haas 53); E Mawi (R Adams-Hale 51), K Pifeleti (T Dan 59), A Clarey (S Wainwright 61), C Hunter-Hill, T Swinson (C Boon 69), J Wray (capt) (S Reffell 30-40), T Knight, J Venter (S Reffell 53)

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Attendance: 12,074

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