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From the Saracen Press

Unprecedented 1-2-3 Sweep in Men's Playoffs

Posted on 2001-09-12 by Agustin Louro

By winning their matches on Saturday, the Saracen men's teams move on to their respective semi-finals this weekend.

The First XV, having defeated the Druids in an exciting quarter-final, move on to another Edmonton team: the Clansmen. As the Clan were seeded higher in their pool than the Saracens, the latter will make the trip north to play the match. Presumably, the semi-final opponents will be tougher than the Druids, but in the last week of competition, the Clan fell to the Druids 18-8, so this matchup is as unpredictable as the last, if not more so.

The Saracens will undoubtedly have to put on a strong defensive stand on Saturday, as they did to the Druids last week. Even when the Green and Black found themselves one man down, the visitors were unable to score and hard-pressed to mount any significant attack. The Clan will likely more capably capitalise on such opportunities, so discipline will have to be at its utmost if the good guys are to continue on to the final.

The Seconds faced a much different– a much better– Hornets side last weekend than we had faced earlier on in the regular season. Unfortunately for the Hornets, the Saracens were even stronger and defeated their fortified opponents. The losing back row were tackled behind gain line on most occasions and never made more than a couple of metres on any run. Their backline seemed uninspired, despite at least two rep-level players and an experienced flyhalf.

Next on the agenda is a visit from Lethbridge, a squad stronger than the Hornets. The 31-31 draw with Lethbridge in the regular season was a product of lazy tackling on our part combined with our usual lackluster first quarter on attack. The inherent incentive of the playoffs should be enough to encourage more enthusiastic play and a hard-earned victory.

The Thirsty Thirds got a lot younger last week, thanks to an injection of talent from the Provincial Champion U19 squad. Their lack of experience was apparent in the first few minutes of their game as the Hornets struck early, but they seemingly gained all the experience they needed in the following 40 minutes or so and never looked back. Our thirds next face the red and white Saints at the Calgary Rugby Park.

The regular season meetings between these two clubs is not at all indicative of their respective talent (see article on Saints/Saracens day) and next week's semi-final will prove evenly matched. The Saints' thirds looked to enjoy the tight, hard-nosed variety of rugby and floundered whenever any pace was injected into the play, as demonstrated by Obie's four-try performance in their first regular season game. Since the addition of the juniors, the fitness level and speed of the Saracens' thirds was increased dramatically and they will be a handful for the more experienced and slower Saints.

The Saracen women were not as successful on the day as their male counterparts, but put up a strong opposition to the much larger and more experienced Stingers. Unfortunately, this signals the end of their season, but it surely also adds to their determination to win the 2002 campaign.