Sara­cens run riot in Euro­pean Cup

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Sara­cens romped to a six-try, 50-3 win over English ri­vals Sale on Saturday to take a huge step closer to the Euro­pean Cup quar­ter-fi­nals.

Boosted by the return from in­ter­na­tional duty of Eng­land stars Jamie Ge­orge, Owen Far­rell, Mako Vu­nipola, Ge­orge Kruis and pow­er­ful lock Maro Itoje, Sara­cens claimed their third win in three games.

The bonus point tri­umph al­lowed them to open a 10-point lead in Pool 3 al­though three-time cham­pi­ons Toulon can close the gap when they face Scar­lets on Sun­day.

Ge­orge, Marcelo Bosch, Sean Mait­land (two), Chris Wyles and Richard Bar­ring­ton all scored tries for while Far­rell added 13 points with the boot be­fore Alex Lo­zowski took over kick­ing du­ties.

A sole Alan MacGinty penalty ac­counted for all of Sale’s points. Sara­cens di­rec­tor of rugby Mark McCall later backed Far­rell to skip­per Eng­land in the Six Na­tions should Northamp­ton’s Dy­lan Hart­ley be banned fol­low­ing his red card in Fri­day’s de­feat to Le­in­ster.

“Owen is ready. He’s one of those play­ers who leads in ev­ery way be­cause he leads from the front,” McCall said. “Some of his de­fend­ing in the sec­ond quar­ter was out of this world. He leads through his ac­tions, but also through his mes­sages and com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the team.”

Ul­ster edged Cler­mont 39-32 in a ninetry thriller as Mun­ster and Glas­gow also sent out mark­ers. The re­sult saw Ul­ster go sec­ond in Pool 5 on nine points, three be­hind lead­ers Cler­mont, who picked up two bonus points de­spite the de­feat.

There was more French heart­break when last sea­son’s los­ing fi­nal­ists Rac­ing 92 went down to a 23-14 de­feat by Glas­gow.

Rac­ing, fea­tur­ing a glut of in­ter­na­tion­als in­clud­ing ex-All Black play­maker Dan Carter, cur­rently sit last in Pool 1 with no points Mun­ster are atop the pool af­ter hand­ing Le­ices­ter a record Euro­pean loss, run­ning out 38-0 vic­tors at their near-impregnable Thomond Park ground.

Rac­ing took the lead against Glas­gow through Juan Imhoff, but the Scot­tish side then took over through two tries from Alex Dun­bar and Ali Price, with Finn Rus­sell kick­ing 13 points be­fore Carter pulled back a con­verted try near the death.

Mun­ster’s de­mo­li­tion of Le­ices­ter was thanks to tries from Si­mon Zebo, Jaco Taute (2) and a penalty try, New Zealan­der Tyler Bleyen­daal hit­ting four penal­ties and three con­ver­sions.

A see-saw first-half in Ul­ster’s home of Belfast was wit­ness to two am­bi­tious teams will­ing to run ev­ery­thing saw the lead change hands seven times.

Cler­mont’s Fi­jian No 8 Pe­celi Yato opened the scor­ing, Ul­ster’s Luke Mar­shall split­ting the de­fence for a straight run-in and then Ian Hen­der­son cross­ing af­ter a Ruan Pien­aar cross-kick as Ul­ster roared back. But slick hands saw South African­born France full-back Scott Sped­ding go over be­fore Paddy Jack­son gath­ered his own grub­ber to hand the ad­van­tage back to the Ir­ish prov­ince at the end of an en­thralling first 40 min­utes, 22-18.—AFP

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