Saturday 21 October 2017

Sarries will be difficult to dethrone, says Townsend

Saracens 38-13 Glasgow Warriors

Saracens' Chris Ashton
Saracens' Chris Ashton

Gregor Townsend believes that, on their day, Saracens may be unbeatable, after they brushed aside his Glasgow Warriors side to set up a semi-final showdown with Munster.

The reigning European champions ran in four tries - Chris Ashton scored two and Marcelo Bosch and Brad Barritt one each - as they once again found their stride, just a week after putting 50 points past Bath.

Owen Farrell of Saracens attempts to break away from Tommy Seymour of Glasgow Warriors Photo: Reuters / Henry Browne
Owen Farrell of Saracens attempts to break away from Tommy Seymour of Glasgow Warriors Photo: Reuters / Henry Browne

"A French journalist spoke to me at the beginning of the year and said 'Saracens are going to win in Europe - they're just unbeatable' and I thought 'what? Surely every game is a winnable one'," Townsend said. "But when you see them like that today, they're very difficult to beat and they've certainly expanded their game."

Ashton scored twice for the second week in succession to not only pave the way for Saracens' progression to the last four but also equal Vincent Clerc's all-time record 36 tries in European competition.

"I thought his all-round game was really strong - good in the air, good defensively," said Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. "It's great that he took the chances he did."

"The players don't realise it yet, but hopefully they will when they get there - it's going to be a very special day," McCall added. "We all know there's an emotional element to this game and we have to make sure we're able to cope with that. Doing that will be one of our tasks over the next few weeks."

Finn Russell of Glasgow Warriors is tackled by Maro Itoje of Saracens Photo: Reuters / Henry Browne
Finn Russell of Glasgow Warriors is tackled by Maro Itoje of Saracens Photo: Reuters / Henry Browne

Saracens - A Goode; C Ashton, M Bosch (D Taylor, 59), B Barritt (capt), S Maitland (A Lozowski, 75); O Farrell, R Wigglesworth (V Kock, 75); B Vunipola (K Brown, 75), J Wray, M Rhodes, J Hamilton (J Conlon, 72), M Itoje, J Figallo (V Koch, 28), J George (S Brits, 55), M Vunipola (T Lamositele, 72).

Glasgow - S Hogg (R Hughes, 75); T Seymour, A Dunbar, P Horne (N Grigg, 57), L Jones; F Russell, H Pyrgos (A Price, 51);

A Ashe, R Wilson, R Harley; J Gray (G Peterson 10; C Fusaro, 72), B Alainu'uese; Z Fagerson (S Puafisi, 47), F Brown (C Flynn, 59), G Reid (A Allan, 59).

Ref - J Garcès (France).

Irish Independent

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