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Saracens (rugby club)

From Academic Kids

Saracens Rugby Club is an English Rugby Union team located in Watford, Hertfordshire.

Contents

History

Saracens were founded in 1876 by the Old Boys of the Philological School in Marylebone, London (later to become Marylebone Grammar School).

The team plays at Vicarage Road, a stadium they share with Watford F.C.

In 1892 Saracens moved from Crown Lane, Southgate, to Firs Farm, N.21 then played on nine different grounds before the move to Bramley Rd for the 1939/40 season (although the war actually prevented them from playing there until 1945).

The club has enjoyed fixtures with the leading clubs for many years and enjoyed a particularly successful time in the 1970s when they reached the semi-finals of the National Cup (now the Tetley Bitter Cup). Special games played at Bramley Rd during this period include the 1971 match against a select International XV. It was a fantastic occasion, as a 5,000 strong crowd (the largest ever to watch a game in North London at the time) came to watch a magnificent contest, ending Saracens 34 International XV 34.

After some bleak years in the early 1980's, the club responded to the challenge of the Courage Leagues, and with Alex Leay as captain and Tony Russ as coach, they won the second division in 1989 with a 100% record. The next year in the first division they surprised many by finishing fourth in the league behind Wasps, Gloucester and Bath.

The 1992/93 season saw the leagues restructured with Saracens, along with three other clubs, being relegated to the second division. In 1993/94 Saracens finished third and narrowly missed out on promotion but the following year they finished as champions and were again back in the top flight. Saracens seesaw existence over the nineties was about to continue in 1995/96 where they again found themselves at the wrong end of the table along with West Hartlepool but they were saved by a reversal of the rules that had seen them lose out a few years earlier.

In November of 1995 Saracens gained the financial backing of Nigel Wray and this enabled the club to recruit the likes of Michael Lynagh, Philippe Sella, Francois Pienaar and Kyran Bracken. Saracens moved again to Enfield FC's ground and they started the new season with a victory over title favourites Leicester but only finished seventh just missing out on Heineken Cup qualification.

The 1997/98 season, was a landmark year. They began a ground share with Watford F.C. and their 22,000 all seater Vicarage Road Stadium. The appointment of Peter Deakin as Marketing Director saw Saracens splashed all over the broadsheets, tabloids, magazines and T.V. and with the help of a small band of be-fezzed followers that had been following the club for a number of years, the year of the Fez began.

Close season signings like Danny Grewcock, Roberto Grau, Gavin Johnson and Ryan Constable now joined forces with the home grown talent of Tony Diprose, Richard Hill and Steve Ravenscroft to form a side that would prove a significant force during the season losing only 3 games during the season to finish second in the Premiership.

Now in December Saracens lost to third from bottom London Scottish in a shock defeat at home but a win against Bedford and West Hartlepool and a draw with Wasps still saw them in touch with leaders Leicester. The last half of the season was a roller coaster ride with Saracens going from eighth and out of European contention after a run of four loses, to eventually finishing third as London's top club.

The following season saw more stars flock to Vicarage Road with Mark Mapletoft, Thierry Lacroix, Scott Murray and Dan Luger joining the club along with Darragh O'Mahony and the up and coming Julian White. With the squad ravaged by World Cup duty and then injury the club's first attempt at the Heineken Cup was not a happy one. They lost 3 games by a couple of points in the last seconds of the game and didn't make the quarter finals. With a few games left they were looking at a possible failure to qualify for Europe again, but Kyran Bracken returned from a ten month injury to inspire Saracens into fourth place and Heineken Cup qualification.

However come October and Saracens had effectively crashed out of the Heineken Cup with back to back defeats to Cardiff and with the team shorn of internationals due to the Autumn Tests the final blow was dealt when Thomas Castaignede suffered an Achilles injury. The results went downhill fast and a 5th place finish saw the club miss out on the final Heineken Cup place.

Saracens is the only English premiership club so far to have toured Japan, and has a relationship with Fukuoka Sanix Bombs.

Current England elite squad

Club honours

External links


English Guinness Premiership rugby union clubs:

Bath | Bristol Shoguns | Gloucester | Leeds Tykes | Leicester Tigers | London Irish | Newcastle Falcons | Northampton Saints | Sale Sharks | Saracens | London Wasps | Worcester Warriors

RFU | National team

Guinness Premiership | Heineken Cup | European Challenge Cup | European Shield | Powergen Cup

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