Saracens stay unbeaten in Europe

Date published: January 23 2016

Saracens made it six wins out of six in the Champions Cup with a 28-17 victory away in Toulouse.

Despite scoring three tries to Saracens' one, Toulouse couldn't overcome a dominant second-half performance from the English fly-half.

A number of handling errors failed to see Saracens secure a bonus point that would've ensured them to go through to the quarter-finals as top seed.

Hodgson opened the scoring from the tee after eight minutes, before doubling the lead four minutes later with a calmly struck drop goal.

In the first of several missed opportunities for Saracens, Jackson Wray had a chance to score the game's first try, but after breaking clear he failed to hold on to the ball when the tackle came in. Hodgson continued his fine kicking form to extend the lead to nine points.

Just before the half-time whistle, former All-Black Luke McAlister scored the first try of the game, after both Toby Flood and Saracens' Duncan Taylor failed to collect his chip over the top, he gathered the loose ball to slide over the whitewash. Flood converted from the tee.

Having come on at half-time to replace Charlie Hodgson, Farrell slotted his first penalty attempt on 45 minutes. 

Just one minute later Saracens scored the try their performance had deserved through Ben Spencer, who collected his own chip over the full back after Alex Goode had made a quick break. Farrell added the extras, taking the margin to 12 points.

Farrell then had the chance to score Saracens' second try, but after running it home a lapse in concentration saw him drop the ball before being able to touch it down.

Toulouse made the North Londoners pay for their mistake, as McAlister scored another try six minutes later having stepped inside and barraged through two tackles inside five metres. Flood wasn't able to convert from out wide.

Farrell regained his composure to convert a penalty, but Toulouse hit back with a third try as Maxime Médard slid over the line, after the video referee judged that Vincent Clerc had released the ball before being taken in to touch.

Flood failed to convert yet again, before Farrell sealed the win by adding three more points from the tee with the clock in the red.

The victory meant that is was six wins from six in the group stage for Saracens, but failing to secure a bonus point against a tough Toulouse defence could see them miss out on finishing as the top seed.

The scorers:

For Toulouse:
Tries: McAlister 2, Médard
Con: Flood

For Saracens:
Try: Spencer
Con: Farrell
Pens: Hodgson 2, Farrell 4
Drop Goal: Hodgson

Toulouse: 15 Clément Poitrenaud, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Toby Flood, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Paul Perez, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Jean-Marc Doussain, 8 Gillian Galan, 7 Imanol Harinordoquy, 6 Yacouba Camara, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Nemiah Tialata, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Gert Muller, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Gregory Lamboley, 21 David Mele, 22 Gael Fickou, 23 Maxime Médard

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Duncan Taylor, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Jim Hamilton, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Richard Barrington.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Billy Vunipola, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Ben Ransom

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Rhys Thomas (Wales),Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)