European Champions Cup Final 2016/17 – Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne

Saracens and Clermont Auvergne were set to play in the second final of the weekend at Murrayfield but this one was for the big guns. This one was for the European Champions Cup trophy and the title of best team in Europe. Would it be an English winner for the second year running in Saracens or a French team in Clermont, looking for their first win ever in European Final….

Saracens are known for their second half magic however, they came out the blocks all guns blazing. Owen Farrell fed a perfect flat pass to Marcelo Bosch which sent the Argentine through. He then found Chris Ashton who paced towards the line but Nick Abendanon covered back to bring him down just short of the line to deny the winger.

However, Saracens and Ashton got a very swift reply. Farrell was at the heart of the play again as he fed the ball to Alex Goode. Goode then dabbed a neat kick through which bounced perfectly into the arms of Ashton who ‘Ash Splashed’ over the whitewash! Farrell’s conversion hit the upright from outwide but Sarries took an early lead.

Richard Wigglesworth’s box kicking has been crucial to Saracens this year however, his overall play is unsung. He gave a great pass to Goode who was tackled just short of the line however, George Kruis was alert and followed it up with a great carry of his own which sent him over the line for Saracens second try within 20 minutes! This time Farrell made no mistake with the conversion.

Clermont were in desperate need of a try and they got that through Remi Lamerat. Aurelian Rougerie made a nice carry and was supported by Lamerat who stripped the ball of his teammate and dived over. Camille Lopez converted but Farrell knocked over a penalty in reply and the score was 15-7 to Sarries.

Alex Goode launched a kick up the pitch into the arms of Scott Spedding. The fullback made a great run past four Saracens defenders before he was shut down. They got quick ball though and Damien Chouly made another lengthy run. More quick ball gave Peceli Yato space and the big flanker shrugged off the tackle of Farrell and fed a superb offload to the supporting Abendanon who scampered in. Lopez converted and exchanged penalties with Owen Farrell to put the scores within 1 single point.

Saracens nearly edged further ahead when Billy Vunipola scooped the ball up from the back of the scrum and raced towards the line. He nearly made it but for the tackle of Fritz Lee and Morgan Parra which shoved him into touch and stopped him from crashing over.

Clermont looked rattled and eventually Saracens got the try they wanted when Owen Farrell linked with Alex Goode on a great dummy run and the fullback dived in much to the delight of his team and the travelling support! Farrell struck the very difficult conversion and notched a penalty to secure the win! A second consecutive Champions Cup  in the Saracens trophy cabinet and they really deserve it!

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