Gold hails Worcester halfbacks

Date published: February 12 2017

Worcester boss Gary Gold hailed the commanding influence of his halfbacks, Francois Hougaard and Ryan Mills, in his side’s 24-18 win over Saracens at Sixways on Saturday.

Mills kicked all of the Warriors points from the tee as he slotted eight out of nine attempts at the posts while Hougaard was instrumental at scrum-half.

Chris Ashton and Schalk Brits got the tries for the champions but they suffered their third loss of the season and their first against the Warriors since November 2012.

And Gold was over the moon with the performance of his squad who led from start to finish and hopes it is a sign of things to come for the Warriors.

“Francois and Ryan were the generals out there as our objective was to not let them have opportunities in our own half,” he told the Premiership’s official website.

“Severe discipline from both of them kept Saracens in the right areas of the field and Hougaard has world-class ability and is pivotal to us as he has strong influence on the squad.

“It’ll prove to the boys that they can do it but the issue is whether we are able to repeat it and it’s not a one-off.

“I’m proud of the guys as they had to take in a lot of information in a short space of time. As long as we showed fight, the result wasn’t as important.

“We didn’t want to do anything flash and there wasn’t anything scientific in our tactics but we needed to shore up our defence.”

Saracens, who saw Mike Ellery sent to the sin bin, were 9-0 down before Ashton crossed for the first try, but Mills’ fourth penalty made it 12-7 at the break.

Regular penalties throughout the second half gave Warriors a comfortable win with Brits’ late try and a Ben Spencer penalty earning Saracens a bonus point.

And a disappointed Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall rued his side’s ill-discipline which allowed the Warriors to keep the scoreboard ticking.

“We got we deserved as we weren’t good enough today. Our set-piece wasn’t at its best and our penalty count today tells its own story,” he explained.