Thursday, November 19, 2009
South Africa's midweek side failed for the second time on this tour as they went down 24-23 to Saracens at Wembley on Tuesday night.
The visitors had a healthy 18-6 lead at halftime, but Saracens, whose team started with 10 'ex' South Africans, came back thanks to tries by Ernst Joubert and Brad Barrit, as well as a 75th minute match winning drop goal by Derick Hougaard.
It sounds like a report from a Currie Cup match, but the Brendan Venter coached side (who insist they're not London South Africa), quite simply had the better second half as they mixed it up physically and scored the points when it counted.
"This was a brilliant evening for the club," Venter said. "We have shown a lot of ambition, and with the guy hitting the crossbar, us winning in the end and with 46,000 people watching - it doesn't get much better than this."
Springbok assistant coach Dick Muir said "We have brought a whole lot of youngsters over here. Some have shown they are world-class players and others have not."
The South African's were impressive in the first half, but failed to turn up in the second as Saracens came back into the match. Hougaard had a horrible night with the boot, and was even booed at times as he kept persisting with badly struck drops.
Ironically, it was he who finally slotted one late in the game, winning the match for a jubilant Saracens in front of a highly impressive amount of fans at the stadium.
It was a strange night for South African fans though, because despite losing, all Sarries points were scored by their own countrymen. Hougaard was a Bulls legend, Joubert captained the Lions, and Barrit was a Sharks midfield warrior for years. The latter is now also eligible to play for England, so his SA days are over.
We've included some of the big hits from the match, as there were plenty on show. Enjoy.