Saracens march on to final

Date published: April 23 2016

Saracens secured a place in this season's Champions Cup final after they overcame Wasps 24-17 in a frantic match in Reading on Saturday.

Saracens rallied back from an early Wasps try to take the lead going into half-time.

A Michael Rhodes try compensated for a poor Owen Farrell kicking performance, with the England man only landing one of his three kicks in an uncharacteristically erratic display.

The second half however saw Saracens pull away, a succession of penalties from Farrell added to a penalty try which assured victory in typically ruthless fashion.

Two-time champions Wasps refused to lie down and stayed in touch but a late Ashley Johnson try was not enough.

It finished 24-10, meaning that beaten 2014 finalists Saracens will have their chance in Lyon to to secure their first Champions Cup title.

Wasps made a lightening start to the match, scoring the first try within two minutes. Wade made a burst down the right wing before finding the run of Dan Robson on the inside who wrong-footed the defender to touch down in the corner. Jimmy Gopperth was successful with the conversion to put Wasps into an early seven-point lead.

After 29 minutes Saracens had their first try. A Gopperth kick from the “22 was charged down by the on-rushing Michael Rhodes and the South African was able to run in to score. Farrell missed his conversion attempt to leave the score at 7-5.

On the stroke of half-time, Sarries were awarded a penalty under the posts and Farrell took his chance to put the North London side into a 7-8 lead at the interval.

Saracens then extended their lead to four points just three minutes into the second half. Farrell once again was the man to score, knocking the ball over from 45 metres out. He added another from a tighter angle after 47 minutes, taking the score to 14-7.

Farrell though was then sent to the sin-bin in controversial fashion in the 51st minute. The fly-half went into a challenge with Robson as the Wasps man when he was hitting the floor. This resulted in a clash of heads that referee Romain Poite deemed to have been a high tackle from the Saracens man, leading to a yellow card.

The resulting penalty was kicked successfully by Gopperth, cutting the gap to just four points once more.

After 68 minutes Wasps had a man of their own in the sin-bin, Simon McIntyre shown yellow for catching Maro Itoje with his boot when he was held at the ruck.

Farrell successfully kicked the resultant penalty, firing Sarries into a seven-point lead with ten minutes to play.

A lineout drive then tore through the Wasps defence before it was collapsed illegally leading to a penalty try and a 24-10 lead to Saracens.

Two-time champions Wasps gave themselves a glimmer of hope after 77 minutes with Elliot Daly breaking through before being dragged down on the line, but Johnson was on hand to score. Gopperth kicked the extras but it was not enough as it finished 24-17, with Saracens booking their ticket to Lyon.


The scorers:

For Saracens:
Tries: Rhodes, Penalty
Con: Farrell
Pen: Farrell 4
Yellow Card: Farrell

For Wasps:
Tries: Robson, Johnson
Con: Gopperth 2
Pen: Gopperth
Yellow Card: McIntyre

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Marcelo Bosch

Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 James Haskell (c), 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Sam Jones, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Rob Miller

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Pascal Gauzere (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)