Saracens were made to sweat as they got their Heineken Cup Pool campaign off to a winning start with a tough 23-17 win over Connacht.
Saracens were made to sweat at the Sportsground as they got their Pool campaign moving with a win, beating Irish side Connacht 23-17 on Friday.
The win came compliments of two-second half penalties from England fly-half Owen Farrell.
Connacht went into the game looking to put their poor league form behind them however it didn't take long for the Sarries to show their dominance when Chris Wyles raced in from 40 yards after great link up play from Farrell and David Strettle.
Farrell then converted easily enough to go 7-0 up with only five minutes gone before Dan Parks kicked a penalty moments later to bring his side back into the game.
Moments later a brilliant team try undid the Irish side again with 10 minutes gone, a sweeping move from left to right giving England winger Chris Ashton a chance to score he would not turn down. Farrell converted brilliantly from the right hand touchline, and at 14-3 Saracens looked as if they were in for a very comfortable night.
Connacht scrum-half Kieran Marmion had other ideas when he managed to race away to score midway through the half. Parks converted and the game was back on at 10-14.
Farrell landed a penalty to extend the Sarries' lead but it was Connacht who came flying back into the game when Danie Poolman was able to burst over after an extended period of pressure.
Parks converted to level maters at 17-17 and that is the way it would stay going into the half-time break with Parks missing a penalty on the verge of the interval, a chance they would go on to regret.
Sarries edged in front ten minutes after the restart when the in-form Farrell converted a penalty deep inside Connacht territory.
Farrell then extended the lead with five minutes to go with another smashing penalty, 17-23.
That was how the scores remained as the final whistle was blown on a tremendous game, a valiant effort from Connacht who came close in the second-half yet everytime fell short despite getting deep in Sarries territory.
Tries: Marmion, Poolman
Con: Parks 2
Tries: Wyles, Ashton
Con: Farrell 2
Pen: Farrell 3
Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 James So'oialo, 11 Danie Poolman, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Michael Swift (c), 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Sean Henry, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Jason Harris-Wright, 17 Peter Reilly, 18 JP Cooney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Andrew Brown, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Tiernan O'Halloran
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 12 Joel Tomkins, 12 Chris Wyles, 11 David Strettle, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 George Kruis, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Schalk Britz, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 James Johnston, 19 Alastair Hargreaves, 20 Ernst Joubert, 21 Richard Wigglesworth, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Michael Tagicakibau.
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (FFR)