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Saracens-Racing in titanic tussle

Friday 17th January 2020

10:12 am (GMT)

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Saracens-Racing in titanic tussle

Saracens forward Nick Isiekwe

Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup Pool 4 finale at Allianz Park promises to be a memorable encounter, with defending champions Saracens needing a win to seal a last-eight place for the ninth successive season and Racing 92 wanting a victory to secure a home quarter-final.

Saracens have won their final pool stage game in seven of their last eight Heineken Champions Cup campaigns, but Pool 4 winners Racing have lost just one of their last seven away games in the competition.

Key facts

  • Saracens’ 30-10 Round 1 loss against Racing ended a five-game winning run against the TOP 14 club in the Heineken Champions Cup.
  • Saracens have won their last seven matches at Allianz Park in the competition, crossing for at least four tries in six of those games.
  • Racing have scored five tries from kick returns in this season’s tournament, more than any other side.
  • Saracens have conceded the fewest penalties (36) in the pool stage this term.
  • Racing have a gain-line success rate of 56%, the best rate of any side, while Saracens rank fourth on 50%.
  • Racing back Virimi Vakatawa has beaten 30 defenders, including 12 against Munster in Round 5, more than any other player.

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Saracens edge Heineken Champions Cup classic

Sunday 19th January 2020

3:21 pm (GMT)

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Saracens edge Heineken Champions Cup classic

Saracens' Maro Itoje celebrates his try with Brad Barritt

Saracens came out 27-24 victors over Racing 92 in an epic Heineken Champions Cup Pool 4 clash at Allianz Park on Sunday afternoon.

The defending champions opened up with a try on three minutes after a driving maul gave Maro Itoje the platform to power over the line and they extended the lead soon after.

Very similar to the first try, it was George Kruis with the take from the line-out and Mako Vunipola was bundled over the line, putting the hosts 14-0 ahead.

It didn’t take Racing long to respond as a Finn Russell kick caused some confusion and Virimi Vakatawa collected the loose ball before driving forward, seeing off Duncan Taylor and scoring.

Owen Farrell would slot over a three-pointer on 19 minutes but as just before the half-hour mark, Louis Dupichot pulled off a lovely intercept from a Farrell pass and he cleared away to cut the gap again.

And the stunning first-half turnaround was complete on 31 minutes as Teddy Iribaren, Russell and Vakatawa combined with the latter picking a gap and powering over for a third try.

Iribaren slotted over a penalty to put Racing seven ahead at the start of the second half before Saracens levelled the scores on 50 minutes.

It was Brad Barritt who kicked wide with penalty advantage, finding Duncan Taylor who offloaded to Ben Earl and his pass inside to Maro Itoje was perfect, allowing the lock to stroll over the try line, with Farrell’s conversion making it 24-24.

As Saracens piled on the pressure, they thought they had a fourth try on 75 minutes but TMO proved inconclusive, so Farrell instead stepped up and slotted over the three points that proved to be the final winning points.

Racing 92 are already safely into the quarter-finals but may not have secured a home quarter-final, while Saracens must wait to see if they have secured a last eight spot.

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