Friday 20 January 2017

Saracens power into second European final in three years

Saracens 24 Wasps 17

Nigel Whittaker

Published 25/04/2016 | 02:30

Billy Vunipola of Saracens celebrates with team mate Brad Barritt (L) after their victory Photo: Getty
Billy Vunipola of Saracens celebrates with team mate Brad Barritt (L) after their victory Photo: Getty
Ashley Johnson of Wasps scores a try Photo: Getty
Joe Launchbury of Wasps is tackled by Owen Farrell Photo: Getty

Saracens took a giant step towards sealing a possible domestic and European double as they booked their place in next month's Champions Cup final at the expense of their Premiership rivals, Wasps.

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Saracens were tested physically but flanker Michael Rhodes' first-half score, which was followed by a penalty try that Owen Farrell converted as part of a 14-point haul, proved enough.

Farrell also spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for what was deemed a dangerous tackle on Dan Robson which led to the Wasps scrum-half being taken off on a stretcher after a sickening clash of heads.

Wasps replacement prop Simon McIntyre was also yellow-carded for an apparent kick on man of the match Maro Itoje's head and he was lucky that referee Romain Poite didn't show him a red.

Wasps went into the game as outsiders, but they required just 73 seconds to make an impact as they stunned Saracens with a blistering opening converted try through Robson.

Farrell added a penalty after Rhodes' try as Sarries took an 8-7 lead into the break and the England out-half continued to find his range in the second half with three more penalties.

Jimmy Gopperth fired over a penalty for Wasps but Saracens were awarded a penalty try and although Ashley Johnson crossed late on, it didn't deny them a place in the final against Racing 92.

Saracens:  A Goode; C Ashton, D Taylor, B Barritt, C Wyles; O Farrell, R Wigglesworth (N De Kock 76); M Vunipola, S Brits (J Saunders 76), P Du Plessis (T Lamositele 76); M Itoje, G Kruis; M Rhodes (J Wray 62), W Fraser, B Vunipola.
Wasps: C Piutau; C Wade, E Daly, S Piutau, F Halai; J Gopperth, D Robson (J Simpson 65); M Mullan (S McIntyre 60), C Festuccia (A Johnson 69), L Cittadini (P Swainston 65); J Launchbury, B Davies; J Haskell (T Young 69), G Smith, N Hughes (S Jones 69).
REF - R Poite (France)

Irish Independent

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