Planet Rugby

Saracens win battle of the leaders

11th December 2009 21:58


Schalk Brits Saracens v Castres

Schalk Brits moves forward

Saracens produced an impressive second-half comeback to win the battle between the English and French league leaders 23-9 in Castres on Friday.

Saracens trailed 9-3 at half-time at Stade Pierre Antoine but kept their opponents scoreless after the break as tries from replacements Andy Saull and Schalk Brits sealed a vital win that keeps their hopes alive of qualifying from Pool Three.

Castres, the surprise leaders of the Top 14 in France, dominated the first half after taking an early lead through full-back Thomas Bouquie in the fifth minute.

Saracens equalised after 13 minutes through Glen Jackson's drop goal but spent the next 10 minutes camped in their own half as Castres were twice held up over the try line.

Bouquie added two more penalties after Justin Melck was sin-binned to establish a half-time lead but again Jackson levelled with two early kicks at the start of the second half.

Saracens were under pressure in the scrum but found success at the lineout from which the game's opening try came. A strong drive saw hooker Brits go close before Saull drove over from close range.

Steve Borthwick's side wrapped up victory nine minutes from time with their second try when Brits intercepted Alexandre Albouy's long pass to score under the posts.

Saracens moved to second in the pool, three points behind Toulon who recorded their biggest victory in Europe, beating Italians Rugby Rovigo 73-3.

Fijian wing Gabi Lovobalavu crossed four times, including the first and last of the French team's 11 tries at Stade Felix Mayol.

Fellow wing Sinoti Sinoti also scored twice while Felipe Contepomi added five conversions as.

Montpellier moved ahead of Worcester and Connacht in Pool Two with a comfortable 57-24 win over Olympus Rugby XV Madrid.

Full-back Benjamin Thiery scored 13 points as the Frenchmen ran in eight tries, while Cesar Sempere bagged 14 points, more than Madrid had managed in their previous two outings in the pool.

Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs Toulon13:00
Scarlets vs Leicester19:45
Bath vs Toulouse15:15
Montpellier vs Glasgow17:15
Northampton vs Ospreys17:15
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale15:15
Castres vs Leinster13:00
Wasps vs Harlequins17:15
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 9217:15
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles19:45
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Grenoble vs London Irish18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs Connacht15:00
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
Newcastle 43 - 19 Bucuresti
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table