McCall can’t hide de­light as Sar­ries beat Lyon to go into last eight

Belfast Telegraph - - SPORT - BY ROBERT JONES

DE­LIGHTED Sara­cens boss Mark McCall felt his side showed signs of old as they claimed an­other “price­less” away win over Lyon to seal their place in the Heineken Cham­pi­ons Cup quar­ter-fi­nals yes­ter­day.

The Premier­ship high-fly­ers be­came the first team to book their spot in the last eight after beat­ing Lyon 28-10 and they can earn a home tie in the knock­out stages when they face Glas­gow next week­end.

Ul­ster­man McCall, whose side limped into the quar­ter-fi­nals last sea­son in eighth spot, de­scribed that match as “mas­sive” as Sara­cens — cham­pi­ons in 2016 and 2017 — bid to fin­ish top of Pool 3 with a sixth suc­ces­sive win.

He said: “We’ve got 23 points and we haven’t won our pool yet. We have a mighty game to look for­ward to against Glas­gow next week­end. It was im­por­tant to win for this com­pe­ti­tion and it was a re­ally good team per­for­mance — it felt a lit­tle bit like old Sara­cens. I am thrilled be­cause that’s three great away wins in this com­pe­ti­tion.

“Away wins are price­less and it re­ally sets us up for next week­end. We want to get a home quar­ter-fi­nal and next week­end is mas­sive.”

Nick Tomp­kins scored two tries for the English cham­pi­ons with Jack­son Wray and Ben Spencer also cross­ing. Owen Far­rell added the ex­tras for all four scores.

Lyon had taken an early lead through Jonathan Wis­niewski’s drop-goal and com­pleted the scor­ing with Alexis Palis­son’s con­verted try, but in be­tween it was all Sara­cens.

McCall added: “Lyon is a real tough place to go and we knew they would fight for ev­ery­thing, and they did. We had to work hard to get the four tries and I’m re­ally pleased.

“We had been talk­ing about field po­si­tion and we dom­i­nated in that area and put them in po­si­tions they didn’t want to be in. Off the back of that we tack­led well and scored the four tries.”

Even though they have only dropped two points in their five matches in Pool 3, and have won all three on the road, Sara­cens will still have to beat Glas­gow at the Al­lianz Arena on Satur­day to top the group after the Scot­tish side beat Cardiff Blues 33-24 at Scot­stoun.

The game will be a re-match of the 2017 quar­ter-fi­nal, which Sara­cens won 38-13 on their way to a sec­ond ti­tle, and will give the Scot­tish team a chance to avenge their 13-3 home de­feat in round one in Oc­to­ber.

If Sara­cens can pick up an­other bonus-point win they will equal their own Cham­pi­ons Cup record of 28 points which set them up for their ti­tle in 2016.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.