Saracens secure last-eight berth

By Ben Spratt 14 January 2019 216
Saracens secure last-eight berth

Saracens became the first side to book their place in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals after maintaining their winning record in Pool 3.

The Premiership champions have won five matches from five, with one left to play, after easing to a 28-10 win away at Lyon on Sunday following Nick Tompkins' double.

Sarries trailed to an early drop goal but soon took control, all but ending the match by the hour mark.

Tompkins got the opening try midway through the first half and Jackson Wray added a second before the break. Within moments of the restart, Tompkins muscled through again and then Ben Spencer secured the bonus point.

Alexis Palisson belatedly crossed for the hosts, but Sarries move onto 23 points and so are guaranteed to at least finish the group stage as one of three best-ranked second-placed sides.

Only Glasgow Warriors can deny Sarries top spot with a bonus-point win in their final match after the Scottish outfit remained four points behind as they defeated Cardiff Blues 33-24.

Grant Stewart and Scott Cummings scored in the first half and, although Owen Lane soon responded, Chris Fusaro went through after 48 minutes to secure some breathing space for Glasgow.

The Blues made a game of it through a flurry of tries - Harri Millard, Josh Navidi and Lane all crossing - yet Oli Kebble also scored in that spell to ensure the Warriors stayed in front, before George Horne went over late on to make the points safe.

Exeter Chiefs kept their hopes of progressing from Pool 2 alive with a 34-12 bonus-point win over Castres in the day's early match.

Jack Nowell, Joe Simmonds and Jonny Hill all crossed in the first half, before Tom O'Flaherty, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie followed suit in the second period.

Castres scored early in each half through Taylor Paris and Thomas Combezou, but Exeter now head to Munster with the opportunity to steal top spot from the Irish outfit.

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