News Update


Saracens 55-36 Connacht – English team wins 13-try thriller in the Investec Champions Cup

In a 13-try thriller at the StoneX Stadium on Saturday, Saracens defeated Connacht 55-36 to open the Investec Champions Cup.

The three-time winners were defeated by the Bulls in their first game, but this time around they led by two tries from Jamie George to an interval advantage of 21-17.

The Premiership winners scored eight tries in total, with Olly Hartley crossing the line twice in a furious second half.

Connacht made sure they left with a losing bonus point thanks to their five tries.

However, it was the Irish province’s second consecutive loss despite a far better showing than when they lost 41-5 at home to Bordeaux-Begles the previous week.

Early on, Saracens took the lead thanks to an ingenious probing kick from Owen Farrell’s Argentine flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez. Gonzalez then brushed off several attempts to rush over the line and score, leaving Farrell unable to convert.

Shortly after, Connacht’s Ireland international Bundee Aki answered, sprinting over from close range after a lineout set up the scoring.

With a great kick into the corner to set up the set-piece, Jack Carty added the extras to make the score 7–5.

Connacht’s second try arrived quickly after Farrell’s penalty kick. Scrum-half Caolin Blade saw an opening at the side of the ruck and darted through it to extend over the line and dot down. For the extra two points, Carty divided the posts.

When Farrell was given a penalty after it was decided that he had overreacted to a strong shot by Shayne Bolton, the visiting number 10 was spot on once more.

George led from the back and then rumbled past the opponents’ line as the hosts drove towards their opponents’ line, cutting their deficit to four points.

A few minutes later, Farrell made up for his missed conversion attempt by making a successful penalty kick.

Once more, a Saracens lineout produced their third score, with George going over again following a forceful shove. Once more, Farrell distorted his conversion.

Soon after the restart, a cunning kick through by Alex Goode was retrieved by Hartley, who scored on his Champions Cup debut by running in under the posts, giving Mark McCall’s team a bonus point.

Sarries kept controlling possession and territory, and when Farrell kicked another penalty, they were rewarded for their dominance. Then, following a sweeping move from one side of the pitch to the other, Farrell produced a wonderful ball for wing Sean Maitland, who was able to gather and dive over in the corner.

Farrell’s penalty put the lead at 21 points, with Cian Prendergast in the sin bin for falling off his feet.

In a matter of minutes, it was the turn of Lucio Cinti Luna, the right wing for Saracens, to cross in the opposite corner from Maitland, enter John Porch, and score the team’s fifth try.

Second row at home Following Maro Itoje’s high tackle, which resulted in a yellow card, Connacht scored their third try through replacement JJ Hanrahan, who found a gap and skidded over following excellent build-up play that ended in an exquisite offload from Aki.

Hartley added his second try, delivering the finishing touch after obtaining yet another deft kick.

Subsequently, Joe Joyce lunged forward to secure a bonus point for Connacht, and an exhilarating second half ensued when Theo Dan registered his name on the scoreboard with the eighth Saracens try.

The replacement hooker surged over, using his team’s tried-and-true maul as his launchpad, but Prendergast added a late consolation try to extend the score.

Saracens: M Vunipola, George, Clarey, Itoje, McFarland, Gonzalez, Christie, B Vunipola; Farrell, Davies; Cinti Luna, Tompkins, Hartley, Maitland, Goode.

Dan, West, Mulipola, Tizard, Knight, Van Zyl, Parton, and Lewington were the replacements.

Carthy, Blade; Duggan, Heffernan, Aungier, D Murray, Thornbury, Prendergast, Oliver, Boyle; Ralston, Farrell, Aki, Bolton; Carty, Porch.

Tierney-Martin, Buckley, Bealham, Joyce, Butler, McDonald, Hanrahan, and Kilgallen are the replacements.

Luc Ramos (FFR) is the referee.


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