Saracens got their Heineken Cup campaign off to a winning start beating Biarritz Olympique 22-10 in a high-impact encounter

After waiting for five years to rejoin the Europe’s elite the Men in Black had plenty to prove and didn’t disappoint.the 11,167 fans at Vicarage Road Stadium.

The home side were guided by Man of the Match Glen Jackson who was aided by an inspired performance at scrum half by Kyran Bracken, which saw him out play his opposite number Yachvili.

Ben Johnston scored the first half try that gave his side a 10-0 half time lead and the remainder of the points came through the boot as the home side controlled the French champions and despite a late try from fly half Peyrelongue the result never looked in doubt.

Both sides started strongly and were keen to run the ball with Biarritz getting the first few chances to stretch their legs but Saracens defence held firm.

After three minutes a great sniping run from a lineout saw Kyran Bracken take play just outside the Biarritz 22. As the scum half was tackled Biarritz infringed handing Glen Jackson his first attempt at goal, which he took to put the home side 3-0 up.

Biarritz had a chance to get themselves on the scoreboard ten minutes later from a lineout inside the Saracens 22. After a catch and drive they headed towards the line but as they crashed over it Bracken dived in to try and put his body in the way causing the referee to go up stairs to the Video Ref. After a long wait he decided that the ball was held up handing Biarritz a 5-metre scrum.

Still not out of danger the home side still had some defending to do and as the ball fired wide from the back of the scrum Saracens put huge pressure on the visitors finally forcing them concede a penalty for holding on giving Jackson a chance to clear his line.

For the next ten minutes both sides tried to break free but Saracens always seemed to have the upper hand and Jackson was continually proving a thorn in the French Champions side with an astute display with the boot.

Another great kick from Glen Jackson took play to the Biarritz line for the second time and again the visitors were penalised for a crocked throw handing Saracens another 5-metre scrum. This time they held their nerve and controlled the ball and Bracken fired out a pass to Jackson. The ball was spun from one side of the pitch to the other before finding its way back to Jackson and with limited options outside him the chance seemed to have died.

The fly half changed direction sucking in two men and then offloaded to Ben Johnston who skipped through the midfield to score under the posts for a great try.

Jackson added the extras and Saracens were 10-0 in front with just minutes to the break but they still had work to do as Biarritz tried to register a score before half time. The ball was soon going through the hands of the French back division but from nowhere appeared Simon Raiwalui to cut Aramburu in half and force the centre to spill the ball forward.

There was no time for the scrum as referee Owens blew for half time and Saracens left the field to a standing ovation.

Saracens started the second half as they finished the first with real grit and determination and even with the visitors getting a lineout on their 22 didn’t stop their momentum.

Iain Fullarton plucked the ball from the air from the Biarritz throw in and the forwards gathered round to secure possession. They then set about an audacious rolling maul that saw them trundle 30 metres into Biarritz territory and as they neared the 10 metre line the visitors were penalised for coming round offside handing Jackson an early shot at goal.

Five minutes later as they pressed the Biarritz line the ball found its way back to captain Hugh Vyvyan who looked up, realised his options were limited, and then launched a superbly struck long range drop goal to extend Saracens lead to 13-0.

Ten minutes on and Yachvili finally found his range and he got Biarritz on the scoreboard with a penalty but Jackson hit back almost immediately to make the score 16-3.

Biarritz were still trying hard to find a way back into the game but spirited Saracens defence was proving difficult for them to breach and the Men in Black were proving to be more than a handful themselves with the ball in hand.

Biarritz Prop Avril let his frustration get the better of him when he struck Vyvyan as Saracens launched another rolling maul into Biarritz territory in the 74th minute . He was despatched to the sin bin and Jackson punished them further with his third successful penalty kick to take the scores to 19-3.

Biarritz did manage a consolation try with two minutes remaining as Peyrelongue jinked through from close range to put the visitors within sight of a bonus point at 19-10 but as the game entered injury time Jackson made sure of victory with a sweetly struck drop goal.