1A Hartpury V Gloucester Premiership Cup

Hartpury RFC vs Saracens - Premiership Cup - 10 - 68

1A Hartpury V Gloucester Premiership Cup

With defeat comes learning. And at the home of the current English champions on Saturday, a young Hartpury side had an experience which will, in time, be of huge benefit.


Saracens: Parton; Moore (Maitland 53), Lozowski (c), Hartley, Segun 7; Goode (Vunipola 55), Davies (Simpson 62); Crean (Adams-Hale 40), Adejimi (Hadfield 67), Hoskins (Clarey 40); Hunter-Hill, Isiekwe (Pearce-Paul 59); Michelow, Knight, Willis (Stonham 55)

Hartpury University: Hathaway (Jones 34); S Smith, R Smith, Tarling, Johnson (Chamberlain 40); Bazalgette, Lennon (Randell 62); A Benz-Salomon (Davies 57), Crane (c) (Sims 57), J Benz-Salomon (Gibson 60); Eite (Rice 67), Davies; Gray, Hart, Hayler (Tull 33)

A Saracens XV packed with quality ran in ten tries at the StoneX, cutting loose after the break following an opening 40 minutes which saw the visitors front up to everything thrown their way.

Rotimi Segun struck twice for Mark McCall’s side, Harry Bazalgette’s penalty keeping Hartpury in touch.

But the Londoners – with seven of the side which won the Premiership final against Sale Sharks last season on duty – showed their class as the game wore, Olly Hartley, Aled Davies, Ollie Stonham, Samson Adejimi, Toby Knight and Tom Parton all getting their name on the scoresheet.

The University, though, showed plenty to suggest their latest foray into the Championship will be a successful one, beginning with a trip to Doncaster Knights in a fortnight.

Captain Will Crane led from the front in a typically forthright defensive showing and before he was withdrawn at half-time due to return to injury protocols, Jack Johnson made more metres, and more key defensive hits, than any other man in a red jersey.

And there was something tangible to celebrate late on when Sam Smith produced a smart finish from close quarters, giving Hartpury deserved recognition on the scoreboard.

Director of rugby, John Barnes, was in upbeat mood going into the start of the league campaign, believing the Premiership Cup has provided a valuable eye-opener into competing at the very highest level.

‘It’s always going to be tough coming to a team which has achieved so much, consistently, at the top for so long. For our boys, it’s an experience to savour. And we hope that some of them will be gracing these sorts of arenas on a regular basis when they leave us,’ said Barnes.

‘It requires something special for Championship sides to compete against the big boys, but what we’ve seen is the players grow. Harlequins, Gloucester and now Saracens in a short period of time is a big ask, and they have embraced it.

‘What we do here is give young players an opportunity, support them as much as we can and from there, it’s down to them.

‘We’ll train well this week and that Doncaster game can’t come soon enough. It’s been a great mini campaign in this competition but we know where our main priority is and that’s the league. We want to be more than just competitive.’

Saracens head coach Joe Shaw was also pleased with seeing his younger charges coming to the fore, typified by hooker Samson Adejimi.

‘If you look back over the years, we’ve always taken this competition seriously for lots of reasons. And the opportunity it provides to young players is one of those,’ he said.

‘Samson has developed superbly over the last year. His throwing, handling and work in the set piece have been tweaked and then practiced relentlessly and he deserved what he got today.

‘This cup has provided this group of players an opportunity and we couldn’t be more pleased with them. We have probably the greatest number of lads away at the World Cup and we’d love for them to be there longer. But we’ll continue to build and the intensity and focus doesn’t change.’


Saracens 68

Tries: Segun 16, 32, Hartley 47, Adejimi 51, 58, Davies 54, Knight 61, 78, Stonham 73, Parton 80

Conversions: Lozowski 33, 48, 52, 55, 59, 62, Simpson 74, 79, 80


Hartpury University 10

Try: Smith 72

Conversion: Bazalgette 73

Penalty: Bazalgette 23


Hartpury star man: Jack Johnson

Referee: Andy Wigley

Half time score: 12-3

Attendance: 2,146