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62     14

Northampton Saints

European Cup | Allianz Park
15:15 (GMT) | 20-01-2018
  • 80
Saints win the lineout and they decide to end the match as the ball is kicked out and Saracens claim a massive and a vital win!!
  • 79
Mitchell clears and a great kick return by Goode into the Saints 22!
  • 78
Great touch finder on the 22 of the Saints and the Saints steal the lineout ball as they attack from deep yet again
  • 78
Another solid scrum by the home side and they win another penalty!
  • 77
All too easy to defend for Saracens and they force the error as the ball is knocked on and Saracens will have a scrum inside their own half.
  • 75
Lineout to Saracens outside their 22 and they clear to Pisi and the saints are back on the attack just inside the Saracens half.
  • 73
Farrell look to get his side into the 60's and does it with ease!
  • 73
Another great Saracens scrum and they win another penalty!
  • 71
Saracens win the scrum and the debutant Sione Vailanu is on a rampage bumping over defenders as Saracens look to get another score but a scrum is awarded to them for a knock on in the tackle by Northampton.
  • 70
Foden takes the high kick from Spencer and Saints attacking from just inside their own half and Saracens force the maul and they win the turnover and will have a good attacking scrum in the middle of halfway!!
  • 68
Farrel lines up the penalty kick and it is good!
  • 67
Spencer finds touch outside the Saints 22 and Goode chips over the top and chases but they come back for a penalty!
  • 66
Great scrum again by Saracens and they have the penalty!!
  • 65
Knock on into touch by Saracens and saints opt for the lineout and win it as they look to get some sort of score,but lose the ball as Bosch kicks but straight into touch so they come back for the scrum as referee played a knock on advantage outside the Saracens 22
  • 63
Farrell converts!!
  • 62
Saracens get the shove on again and the new man on debut Sione Vailanu destroys everyone in his pass as he is determined and goes over for the TRY!!!!
  • 61
NO TRY!!! Ball is held up but Saracens will have a 5m attacking scrum!!
  • 61
Sarries lineout on the saints 5m line and it is all too easy as Mako Vunipola gets his second, but referee will check!
  • 60
Saracens are dominating the scrum again and they get the reward with a penalty!!
  • 59
Saracens push Northampton off their ball at scrum time but make a mess of possession on attack and another scrum will take place for the away side in their 22!
  • 57
Reinach sends the ball to his backs as they look to go wide but not really going forward and the counter ruck is good by Saracens but they lost the ball and referee calls the scrum as time is off for an injury
  • 56
Ball lost by the saints and the quick hands sees earl grabbing it behind him and juggling before losing it! Scrum Saints!!
  • 54
Farrell with the conversion out wide and it is a beauty!!
  • 53
Solid Saracens scrum sees them pushing back the Saints 8 and got the ball through the hands quickly and the Kiwi Sean Maitland goes in for the TRY in the corner!!
  • 52
Sarries seem to have lost the scrum and as the ball went out the other tunnel Reinach pounced and looked to be away for all money, but they have to come back for the scrum!!
  • 51
Some back and forth play and Northampton knocks on in their own half and Saracens will have an attacking scrum.
  • 49
Farrell slots the penalty!
  • 49
Northampton looking to attack and then go high as Goode takes and Tuitavake puts good pressure on him but a breakout by Sarries sees them 5ms from the line and Earls is back tackled and Sarries failed to capitalize with an overlap but they had a penalty and they come back to it!!
  • 46
Farrell lines up for the penalty looking to extend the lead and the kick is over!!
  • 45
Ribbans takes the lineout and then its lost and Saracens is back on the attack from their own half and worked their way up to halfway before launching it high into the hands of Foden as he gives it to Horne and they look to play it wide from deep, but the Saracens defence s solid and they win the breakdown penalty!
  • 43
Lineout won by Saracens and they work their way into the Saints 22 and a lose pass sees them tracking back a bit but they keep possession and then the ball is lost forward and Reinach clears again into the hands of Wyles, but he is tackled into touch.
  • 41
Second half is underway through Owen Farrel as Tuitavake takes the kick off and Reinach clears from the base to just outside his 22.

Half Time

  • 40
Farrell converts and that will be halftime!! See you back for the second half!!!
  • 40
TRY to Vincent Koch!!!
  • 40
Sarries win the lineout and it looks like Koch who goes over for the score but referee will check!!
  • 40
Saints under a warning and Saracens set the drive again as the ball goes loose and Jamie Gibson sees yellow as Sarries go for the corner again!
  • 39
Saracens set the maul and ruble from outside the Saints 22 as they have a penalty and Farrell gives a cross kick but they come back for the penalty and go to the corner!!
  • 38
back and forth kicking battle and Earls kick and chase and puts pressure on Fiden as he managed to keep the ball in play under pressure and Reinach makes a good clearance outside his 22.
  • 36
Farrell converts!!
  • 34
Penalty to Saracens at scrum time for collapsing!! Farrell finds touch up to halfway and they set the maul as they ake some progress and in a penalty for collapsing as they take the attack into the Saints 22 and Quick hands sees Itoje knocks on and the advantage was over and the Saints break out and its a turnover and the attack is back with Sarries and after back and forth play and Earls makes a break and sends Wigglesworth away as he goes over for a sensational and the Bonus Point TRY!!!
  • 32
Reinach feeds, but instability sees another reset scrum called.
  • 31
Knock on by Saracens sees Northampton getting a good opportunity to strike back from the scrum as referee calls for a reset
  • 29
Farrel looking to convert from out wide and it just fades away to the right hand upright
  • 28
Ball is lost forward and they clear it to outside their 22 as Saracens go again off the lineout and the Saints defence holds well for the moment, but a dummy and go sees Farrell break the line and give the pass to Bosch who goes over for their 3rd TRY!!
  • 26
Another penalty to Saracens at the lineout and Farrell finds touch outside the Saints 22. Itoje takes the lineout and they set it u through Maitland as they work it with the forwards into the 22!!
  • 24
Saints go for the line and it goes against them as they changed lanes in the maul and the penalty go against them!
  • 23
Saints looking to strike back as they attack from deep and work it up to the Saracens 22m line and Saracens are doing well to keep them out but wins a penalty for not rolling away!
  • 21
Conversion from wide good from Farrel!!
  • 20
Earls makes an immediate contribution off the bench as he steps a few defenders off the scrum as first receiver and the ball went wide through some hands and Goode goes over for the TRY!!!
  • 20
Saracens putting good pressure on saints as they kick through and the bounce fools Fiden and the pressure from Earle sees him throw a forward pass. Scrum Saracens in the saints 22
  • 17
Kick is good!
  • 16
Saints on the attack just inside the Saracens half as Reinach kicks and Itoje charged down, but they got the ball back and continue with the attack as they find some gaps in the Saracens defence and a knock on by Sarries make the saints lose some meters but they continue to attack and Tuitavake goes over or the TRY!!
  • 14
Farrell converts!!
  • 14
Itoje get them over the 5m line and a pick and drive sees Mako Vunipola go over for the TRY!!
  • 13
Sarries steal the lineout and they are bashing it up in the Saints 22 as they work it up to the 5m line!!
  • 13
Lineout for Northampton outside the Saracens 22 and they go backwards due to a loose pass after setting their attack and they go high but the mark is called and the kick return is just outside the saints 22!!
  • 11
Great clearance from Bosch from his 22 into the Saints half and the Saints win the lineout and the penalty as Itoje played the man in the air and a little scuffle breaks loose.
  • 9
Farrell lines up for the penalty kick and he puts Saracens on the board!!
  • 8
Saracens straight back on the attack in the Northampton half and they win a penalty at the breakdown as Northampton infringed
  • 6
Conversion is good!
  • 5
Good solid scrum from both sides as Burger breaks away from the back and Wigglesworth clears to the hands of Pisi and a counter on sees Reinach go over fo the TRY!!
  • 5
Saints p[t for the lineout and it goes against them as Itoje showed his class to collapse the maul legally and force the turnover. 5m defensive scrum to Saracens
  • 3
First lineout of the match goes to Northampton outside Saracens 22 and they set the maul and win a penalty for a side entry and referee brings them back for the penalty
  • 1
Early clearance from Wigglesworth as it is taken by Foden and Saints early on the attack inside the Sarries half as Reinach launches the box kick onto Burger and it becomes a kicking battle early on
  • 0
Mathieu Raynal blows his whistle and Harry Mallinder gets us underway!!
  • 0
Fiest lineout of the match goes to Northampton outside Saracens 22 and they set the maul and win a penalty for a side entry and referee brings them back for the penalty
  • 0
Fiest lineout of the match goes to Northampton outside Saracens 22 and they set the maul and win a penalty for a side entry and referee brings them back for the penalty
  • -2
David Ribbans replaces the sick Courtney Lawes and James Craig gets a spot on the bench
  • -3
Conditions are wet as rain drizzles down so it could come down to a forward orientated game.
  • -5
Prediction: Both sides will be desperate for a win, but Saracens should win comfortably with at least 12 points.
  • -10
Players to watch: For Saracens - Vincent Koch was rampant the last time these sides met and have been performing constantly, some might even say he is a centre in a prop’s body. If things get loose Koch could cause havoc again! For Northampton- Cobus Reinach could be a game changer when he is on his game on the day, the Former Sharks scrum half is known for his pace and breaks around the fringes and if not watched closely he could be causing the forwards some headaches at the breakdown
  • -15
The Biggest liability of Northampton have been their defence as they have conceded the most amount of tries and if that continues today, Saracens will most likely leak a round one repeat in terms of the score margin.
  • -20
Northampton had not had a great season either, and even a bonus point win today would not elevate them from last place in their pool, but they will regardless give it all in order to get a result
  • -25
The home side have had the upper hand as of recent matches and will be gunning to keep that stat intact. In Fact, they thrashed the Saints in round one of the competition (57-13) to send out a clear message to all competitors, but have not always had their way in the following week only managing to get one more win so this is of utmost importance for them
  • -30
Welcome to the European Champions Cup clash between Saracens and Northampton Saints LIVE from Allianz Park in London, England!!
Mc saracens80
Mc northampton saints80
Northampton Saints
  • 1 Mako Vunipola
  • 2 Jamie George
  • 3 Vincent Koch
  • 4 Nick Isiekwe
  • 5 George Kruis
  • 6 Maro Itoje
  • 7 Calum Clark
  • 8 Schalk Burger
  • 9 Richard Wigglesworth
  • 10 Owen Farrell
  • 11 Chris Wyles
  • 12 Brad Barritt
  • 13 Marcelo Bosch
  • 14 Liam Williams
  • 15 Alex Goode
  • 16 Christopher Tolofua
  • 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer
  • 18 Juan Figallo
  • 19 Will Skelton
  • 20 Sione Vailanu
  • 21 Ben Spencer
  • 22 Alex Lozowski
  • 23 Sean Maitland
  • 1 Campese Ma'afu
  • 2 Dylan Hartley
  • 3 Kieran Brookes
  • 4 Michael Paterson
  • 5 Christian Day
  • 6 Courtney Lawes
  • 7 Jamie Gibson
  • 8 Mitch Eadie
  • 9 Cobus Reinach
  • 10 Harry Mallinder
  • 11 Nafi Tuitavake
  • 12 Tom Stephenson
  • 13 Rob Horne
  • 14 Ken Pisi
  • 15 Ben Foden
  • 16 Reece Marshall
  • 17 Francois Van Wyk
  • 18 Paul Hill
  • 19 David Ribbans
  • 20 . Lewis Ludlam
  • 21 Alex Mitchell
  • 22 Stephen Myler
  • 23 George North
Mc article european champions cup boot and ball 800

Preview: European Champions Cup, Round Six

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 05:39

ONE LAST CHANCE: It promises to be a tension-packed weekend in what many regard is perhaps the most hotly contest season.

Every team still involved has plenty to play for and this is always one of the best weekends in the global rugby calendar, with a fair share of crazy results always being delivered.

We first look at each pool.

Pool One: If keeping it simple in such a superbly congested Round Six is difficult, the straightforward message for Ulster (17 points) who travel to Wasps (12 points), and for La Rochelle (16 points) who host Harlequins, is that both need to win. What is certain, is that a victory for Ulster at the Ricoh would guarantee them a place in the last eight come what may. Remember too that Wasps are not out of it … which all suggests that Sunday afternoon might be a bit of a roller coaster.

Pool Two: This pool always had the whiff of death about it and now we have the TOP 14 champions and the tournament holders fighting for survival. Clermont (18 points), who have been hit by a host of injuries, need to beat a resurgent Ospreys (15 points) at Marcel-Michelin, while a home win for Saracens (13 points) might not be enough. And even if Northampton Saints are gone from the qualification race, expect them to come out firing at Allianz Park.

Pool Three: Impressive Leinster have already booked a home quarter-final, and a losing bonus point in Montpellier will see them ranked No 1 going into the knockout stage which statistically boosts their chances of a semi-final in Ireland. Montpellier (13 points) are still in the hunt for a best runner-up spot as are the Exeter Chiefs (14 points) who need a big win in Glasgow.

Pool Four: Another pool going right down to the wire. If Munster (16 points) get the better of Castres (12 points) at Thomond Park, then they will win the pool irrespective of what happens between Leicester and Racing 92 (15 points) at Welford Road as the Irish province have a superior points difference from the head-to-heads with Racing. A win for the TOP 14 side in Leicester, and they could well grab a quarter-final place.

Pool Five: A packed house at Parc y Scarlets is guaranteed on Saturday for the shoot-out between Scarlets (17 points) and RC Toulon (18 points). The winner takes all, and the loser will be left sweating on the possibility of a best runner-up place. Even if Bath (13 points) hit top form against Benetton in Treviso, a bonus point victory may still not be enough.

Qualification for the quarterfinals

The five pool winners and the three best-placed runners-up qualify for the quarterfinals, and will be decided as follows:

(a) The pool winner will be the club with the highest number of match points in each pool. The best-placed runners-up will be the three clubs with the highest number of match points out of the five clubs that finish second in their respective pools. For the quarterfinals, the pool winners will be ranked 1 to 5 and the best-placed runners-up ranked sixth, seventh and eighth by the number of match points earned.

(b) If two clubs in the same pool are equal on match points at the conclusion of the pool stage, then their ranking will be determined by the results of the two matches played between the relevant clubs as follows:
(i) the club with the greater number of match points from the two matches; or
(ii) if equal, the club with the best aggregate points difference from the two matches; or
(iii) if equal, the club that scored the most tries in the two matches.

(c) If ranking remains unresolved and/or if clubs have not played each other previously in the pool stage, qualification/ranking will be determined as follows:
(i) the best aggregate points difference from the pool stage; or
(ii) if equal, the number of tries scored in the pool stage; or
(iii) if equal, the club with the fewest number of players suspended under Disciplinary Rules in the pool stage; or
(iv) if unresolved, by drawing lots.

The clubs ranked one to four will have home advantage in the quarterfinals as follows:
Quarterfinal One: Club One v Club Eight
Quarterfinal Two: Club Four v Club Five
Quarterfinal Three: Club Three v Club Six
Quarterfinal Four: Club Two v Club Seven


The format for the semifinal matches in the Champions Cup recognises performances by clubs during the pool stage as well as the achievement of winning a quarterfinal match away from home.

Semifinal One: Winner Quarterfinal One v winner Quarterfinal Two
Semifinal Two: Winner Quarterfinal Three v winner Quarterfinal Four

The semifinals will be played at venues designated by EPCR, and the following clubs will have home country advantage in their respective matches:

(a) For Semifinal One

If the clubs ranked One and Four win their quarterfinals, the club ranked 1 will have home country advantage
If the clubs ranked 1 and 5 win their quarterfinals, the club ranked 5 will have home country advantage
If the clubs ranked 8 and 4 win their quarterfinals, the club ranked 8 will have home country advantage
If the clubs ranked 8 and 5 win their quarterfinals, the club ranked 5 will have home country advantage

(b) For Semifinal Two

If the clubs ranked three and two win their quarterfinals, the club ranked two will have home country advantage
If the clubs ranked third and seventh win their quarterfinals, the club ranked seven will have home country advantage
If the clubs ranked six and two win their quarterfinals, the club ranked six will have home country advantage
If the clubs ranked sixth and seventh win their quarterfinals, the club ranked six will have home country advantage

Knockout stage appearances since 1996

The knockout stage appearances of the clubs in the 2017/18 competition (excluding the 1997/98 quarterfinal play-offs) are as follows:
16 - Munster
14 - Leinster (including this season)
13 - Leicester Tigers
8 - ASM Clermont Auvergne
7 - Northampton Saints, Scarlets, Wasps
6 - Bath, RC Toulon, Saracens
5 - Ulster
4 - Harlequins
3 - Ospreys
2 - Racing 92
1 - Castres Olympique, Exeter Chiefs, Glasgow Warriors, Montpellier

We look at all the Round Six matches!

Saturday, January 20

Pool Three:

Glasgow Warriors v Exeter Chiefs
(Scotstoun Stadium - Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT)

Glasgow has won two of the three meetings between the clubs, however, Exeter came out best at Sandy Park in Round One this season.

All three previous games have been decided by fewer than 10 points, with each side scoring exactly 50 points across the fixtures.

Glasgow has lost their last three home games, and they've not lost more in succession since a run of six defeats between January 2003 and December 2005.

The Chiefs have missed an average of 26 tackles per match this season, more than any other side.

Two Exeter players have played the full 400 minutes so far this season (Henry Slade and Don Armand), and only Munster (three) have more players to have played every minute


Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Leonardo Sarto, 10 Finn Russell, 9 George Horne, 8 Adam Ashe, 7 Matt Smith, 6 Matt Fagerson, 5 Jonny Gray (captain), 4 Rob Harley, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 George Turner, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Grant Stewart, 17 Alex Allan, 18 D’Arcy Rae, 19 Greg Peterson, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Ali Price, 22 Peter Horne, 23 Lee Jones.

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (captain), 9 Nic White, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Don Armand, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Ben Moon.
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Moray Low, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Toby Salmon, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Joe Simmonds, 23 Tom Hendrickson.

Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Cyril Lafon (France), Vincent Blasco (France)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

Pool Three:

Montpellier v Leinster
(Altrad Stadium - Kick-off: 14.00; 13.00 GMT)

Montpellier have won just one of their five encounters with three-time winners Leinster, although they are unbeaten at home against the Irish province.

Pool Three winners, Leinster, are unbeaten in their last four away games, although they've won on just two of their last eight trips to France.

Montpellier have won just three of their 15 games against Irish opposition in Europe (including Challenge Cup), losing 11 and drawing one.

Montpellier are the only side to have a 100 percent scrum success rate after five rounds, winning all 36 on their own put-in.

Leinster are the top points (153) and try (19) scorers this season.


Montpellier: 15 Benjamin Fall, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Frans Steyn, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Kelian Galletier, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Nicholaas Van Rensburg, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Bismarck Du Plessis, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili.
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Mohamed Haouas, 19 Julien Delannoy, 20 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 21 Gela Aprasidze, 22 Joe Tomane, 23 Jesse Mogg.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Isa Nacewa (captain), 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dan Leavy, 5 James Ryan, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Joey Carbery, 23 Fergus McFadden.

Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Ian Tempest (England), Peter Allan (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)

Pool Two

Saracens v Northampton Saints
(Allianz Park - Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT)

This will be the third meeting between the clubs in the Champions Cup, with Saracens winning both previous encounters.

The reigning champions' win in Round One represented Northampton's heaviest defeat on home soil in Europe (57-13).

Saracens have won all seven of their Champions Cup games against Premiership opposition, with those victories coming by an average margin of 20 points.

Saracens have won 93 percent of their own line-outs so far, the best rate of any side.

Northampton have conceded 24 tries in their five matches so far, no side has conceded more (Glasgow also 24).


Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Sean Maitland.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Harry Mallinder, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Campese Ma’afu.
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Paul Hill, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 George North.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Alexandre Ruiz (France), Thomas Charabas (France)
TMO: Phillippe Bonhoure (France)

Pool Two

ASM Clermont Auvergne v Ospreys
(Stade Marcel-Michelin - Kick-off: 16,15; 15.15 GMT)

This will be the fourth time ASM Clermont Auvergne have hosted the Ospreys, winning on all three previous occasions and outscoring the Welsh region 95-50 in those games.

Clermont has won all nine of their home games against Welsh opposition in Europe's top flight, and only the Ospreys, in November 2015, have managed to finish within 20 points of Clermont during that run (34-29).

The Ospreys won their last away game but haven't won consecutive matches on the road since the 2007/08 pool stage when they beat Ulster before winning away in France in Round Six (v Bourgoin).

The Welsh side has the best tackle success rate in the Champions Cup this season, completing 92 percent, and missing an average of just 13 per game.

Morgan Parra is the top points scorer (62) heading into the final round of the pool stage.


Clermont: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Nick Abendanon, 13 Peter Betham, 12 Rémi Lamerat, 11 Remi Grosso, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Peceli Yato, 5 Sébastien Vahaamahina, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Raphael Chaume.
Replacements: 16 Yohan Beheregaray, 17 Etienne Falgoux, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Paul Jedrasiak, 20 Damien Chouly, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Noa Nakaitaci, 23 Scott Spedding.

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Jeff Hassler, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Will Jones, 21 Thomas Habberfield, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Kieron Fonotia.

Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant referees: Anthony Woodthorpe (England), Simon McConnell (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)

Pool Five

Scarlets v RC Toulon
(Parc y Scarlets - Kick-off: 17.30; 17.30 GMT)

This will be the sixth meeting between Scarlets and Toulon in the Champions Cup, with the sides meeting in the pool stage of three of the last four seasons.

Toulon has won four of the five previous meetings.

The clubs have shared one win apiece in their most recent two clashes, both games being won by the home side on the day, each by a single point.

Scarlets, who are looking to qualify for the knock-out stage for the first time since 2007, have lost just one of their last five home games.

Leigh Halfpenny has succeeded with all 10 of his conversion attempts so far, more than anyone else who is yet to miss one.

Toulon has averaged more carries (153) and metres (485) than any other side this season to date.


Scarlets: 15 Rhys Patchell, 14 Tom Prydie, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Paul Asquith, 10 Dan Jones, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 John Barclay, 7 James Davies, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Tadhg Beirne, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Ken Owens, 1 Rob Evans.
Replacements: 16 Ryan Elias, 17 Wyn Jones, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Lewis Rawlins, 20 Will Boyde, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Steff Hughes, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.

Toulon: 15 Hugo Bonneval, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Chris Ashton, 10 Anthony Belleau, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 6 Facundo Isa, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Juandre Kruger, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Etrillard, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Juan Fernandez Lobbe, 20 Francois Trinh-Duc, 21 Jean Monribot, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Samu Manoa.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Tom Foley (England), Paul Dix (England)
TMO: David Grashoff (England)

Pool Five

Benetton v Bath
(Stadio Comunale di Monigo - Kick-off: 18.30; 17.30)

Bath have won three of the previous four meetings between the clubs.

Benetton will be hosting Bath for the first time since 2004/05.

They scored over 25 points in each of their previous two home games, compared to just seven in total in their two away games against the Premiership side.

Bath have won 17 of 18 European games against Italian opposition (including Challenge Cup), winning by an average margin of 39 points in those 17 matches.

Tom Dunn has made more tackles (99) than any other player this season, missing only six.

Rhys Priestland has successfully caught 13/13 kicks in open play.


Benetton: 15 Ian McKinley, 14 Tommaso Benvenuti, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Monty Ioane, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Seb Negri Da Oleggio, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Dean Budd, 4 Ira Herbst, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Tomas Baravalle, 1 Nicola Quaglio.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Alberto de Marchi, 18 Simone Ferrari, 19 Federico Ruzza, 20 Alessandro Zanni, 21 Braam Steyn, 22 Giorgio Bronzini, 23 Luca Sperandio.

Bath: 15 Anthony Watson 14 Matt Banahan 13 Jonathan Joseph 12 Ben Tapuai 11 Aled Brew 10 Freddie Burns 9 Kahn Fotuali’i 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Matt Garvey (captain), 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 James Phillips, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Tom Dunn, 1 Lucas Noguera.
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Max Lahiff, 19 Luke Charteris, 20 Paul Grant, 21 Darren Allinson, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 James Wilson.

Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Sunday, 21 January

Pool Four

Leicester Tigers v Racing 92
(Welford Road - Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT)

Racing 92 have won three of the four previous meetings between the clubs, however, their solitary defeat was at Welford Road in Round 2 last season.

Racing has lost their last six pool stage away games, this after going undefeated for five games on the road before that run.

Leicester lost their last game at Welford Road, against Munster in Round Four, however, they've never lost consecutive home games in a single season.

Leone Nakarawa has made more carries (79) and offloads (16) than any other player in the Champions Cup after five rounds.

Both George Ford and Maxime Machenaud have kicked nine from nine penalties to date.

No player has landed more penalties without missing at least one.


Leicester: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Nick Malouf, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford (captain), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Mike Williams, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Harry Wells, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Greg Bateman.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Mike Fitzgerald, 20 Valentino Mapapalangi, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Adam Thompstone.

Racing 92: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Teddy Thomas, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Henry Chavancy, 11 Joe Rokocoko, 10 Rémi Tales, 9 Maxime Machenaud (captain), 8 Leone Nakarawa, 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Donnacha Ryan, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Cedate Gomes Sa, 19 Baptiste Chouzenoux, 20 Boris Palu, 21 Teddy Iribaren, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Louis Dupichot.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Gwyn Morris (Wales)
TMO: Neil Hennessy (Wales)

Pool Four

Munster v Castres Olympique
(Thomond Park - Kick-off: 13.00; 13.00 GMT)

The clubs have met 13 times previously in the European Cup, the most in the competition's history and Munster are unbeaten in each of their last six encounters.

Should Munster win it would be their 10th victory against Castres.

No side has won more against a single opponent with Leicester Tigers (v Benetton) and Toulouse (v Edinburgh) also on 10.

Munster have won 27 of their 28 home games against TOP 14 opposition in the European Cup, their only defeat coming against ASM Clermont Auvergne in 2014/15.

Munster have conceded just eight tries so far, the fewest of any side in the competition.


Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Chris Cloete, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Niall Scannell, 17 James Cronin, 18 John Ryan, 19 Darren O’Shea, 20 Jack O’Donoghue, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Alex Wootton.

Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Kylian Jaminet, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 David Smith, 10 Julien Dumora, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Alex Tulou, 7 Steve Mafi, 6 Yannick Caballero, 5 Thibault Lassalle, 4 Alexandre Bias, 3 Damien Tussac, 2 Jody Jenneker, 1 Antoine Tichit.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Firmin, 17 Tudor Stroe, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Victor Moreaux, 20 Baptiste Delaporte, 21 Yohan Domenech, 22 Yohan Le Bourhis, 23 Afusipa Taumoepeau.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Wayne Davies (Wales), Dewi Phillips (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)

Pool One

Wasps v Ulster
(Ricoh Arena - Kick-off: 15.15; 15.15 GMT)

Wasps have won all three of their home games against Ulster, scoring 141 points in the process.

This will be the first time they've hosted the Irish province since 2001/02 though.

In fact, Wasps have never lost at home to Irish opposition in the European Cup, winning eight and drawing one.

Ulster has won four of their last five games against Premiership opposition, including this season against Wasps in Round One and against Harlequins twice.

Former Wasps player, Charles Piutau, is the leading metre-maker in the tournament this season (502).

Stuart McCloskey, Iain Henderson and Joe Launchbury are three of 19 players to play the full 400 minutes so far this season.


Wasps: 15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Juan De Jongh, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8  Nizaam Carr, 7  Guy Thompson, 6 Jack Willis, 5  James Gaskell, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3  Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2  Tom Cruse, 1  Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Brendan Macken.

Ulster: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Jacob Stockdale, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 John Cooney, 8 Nathan Timoney, 7 Sean Reidy, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Kieran Treadwell, 4 Alan O'Connor, 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Kyle McCall.
Replacements: 16 Rob Herring, 17 Andrew Warwick, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Matt Rea, 20 Chris Henry, 21 David Shanahan, 22 Jonny McPhillips, 23 Rob Lyttle.

Referee: Jerome Garcès (France)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (France), Jonathan Dufort (France)
TMO: Eric Briquet Campin (France)

Pool One

La Rochelle v Harlequins
(Stade Marcel Deflandre - Kick-off: 16.15; 15.15 GMT)

This will be just the second meeting between the clubs, with La Rochelle winning 34-27 in Round One.

La Rochelle has won both of their home games this season, by 20+ points and scoring 90 points in total.

Kevin Gourdon made a round high 26 tackles last weekend, and overall only two players (Tom Dunn 99 and Joe Launchbury 79) have made more tackles than the La Rochelle back row (77).

Harlequins have the lowest tackle success rate (84 percent) of any side in the competition this season.


La Rochelle: 15 Kini Murimurivalu, 14 Rene Ranger, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Pierre Aguillon, 11 Vincent Rattez, 10 Jérémy Sinzelle, 9 Alexi Bales, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Kevin Gourdon, 6 Levani Botia, 5 Mathieu Tanguy, 4 Jason Eaton (captain), 3 Uini Atonio, 2 Pierre Bourgarit, 1 Dany Priso.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Lekso Kaulashvili, 18 Mohamed Boughanmi, 19 William Demotte, 20 Romain Sazy, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Benjamin Noble, 23 Eliott Roudil.

Harlequins: 15 Ian Prior, 14 Ross Chisholm, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 James Lang, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Archie White, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward (captain), 1 Lewis Boyce.
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Dino Lamb, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Joe Marchant, 23 Aaron Morris.

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Leo Colgan (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNiece (Ireland)

Source: @ChampionsCup


Mc article saracens v saints 800

Saracens keep their dream alive

Sat, 20 Jan 2018 15:15

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Saracens kept alive their play-off chances with an emphatic 62-14 demolition of fellow Premiership outfit Northampton Saints.

Saracens showed their attacking flair in full flow as they ran in seven tries in a bonus-point win on Alex Goode's 250th appearance.

Their fate when it comes to making the quarterfinals remain in the hands of others.

The first-half was a close affair in the opening 20 minutes, Cobus Reinach and Nafi Tuitavake scoring tries which twice gave Saints the lead but Sarries hit back with scores from Mako Vunipola, Alex Goode, Marcelo Bosch, Nathan Earle and Vincent Koch to make the score at the interval a convincing 36-14.

Saracens were in complete control during the second period and scored tries through Sean Maitland and Tonga international debutant, Sione Vailanu who scored with his first touch after coming on at No.8.

The win places the home side second in Pool Two after the Pool Stage and Clermont's 24-7 win over Ospreys, leaving them to find out their fate with teams still to play to decide which three of the five runners-up will go through.

Northampton opened the scoring in the sixth minute, Cobus Reinach bursting through a gap before touching down under the posts. Harry Mallinder landed the conversion to establish an early seven-point lead.

Owen Farrell kicked the hosts' first points of the game in the ninth minute, scoring a penalty from 25 metres.

Saracens took a 10-7 lead after 14 minutes, great pressure from the attack kept Northampton pegged back in their own '22. Maro Itoje took the ball to within metres of the line before Vunipola snuck round the corner to score below the posts. Farrell converted.

The visitors scored their second try in the 17th minute Tuitavake capitalised on a messy spell of play to create a gap and drive through for another try under the posts before Mallinder converted to establish a four-point lead for Saints.

Sarries struck back three minutes later, a bizarre forward pass in the corner from Ben Foden afforded Sarries a scrum deep in Saints territory. The ball was worked across the back-line all the way to Goode, who scored on his 250th appearance in the corner. Farrell's conversion made the score 17-14.

Saracens scored their third try in the 29th minute, great work across the back-line set-up a sumptuous dummy from Farrell who burst forward before finding Bosch in clear air to score and make the score 22-14.

Saracens secured the bonus-point after 34 minutes with a sensational try. Earle broke forward before moving the ball on to Wigglesworth for a great score before Farrell added the extras.

The Men in Black secured a fifth try before the interval, Koch crossing the whitewash following powerful work from the forwards to score under the posts. Farrell's conversion with the last action of the half made the half-time score 36-14.

The first points of the second-half came through Farrell, who kicked a penalty from 30 metres to take the Saracens lead up to 25-points. He added a second penalty of the half in the 50th minute, taking the score to 42-14.

In the 54th minute, Maitland raced away in the corner to score the home side's sixth try of the game and make the score 49-14 after Farrell's brilliant conversion from out-wide on the right-wing.

Saracens scored their seventh try in the 63rd minute, debutant Vailanu scored with his first touch of the ball in a Saracens shirt, picking the ball from the back of the scrum and powering through the defenders to score. Farrell converted, making the score 56-14.

Farrell added two late penalties in the 69th and 74th minutes to make the final-score 62-14.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Vunipola, Goode, Bosch, Wigglesworth, Koch, Maitland, Vailanu
Cons: Farrell 6
Pens: Farrell 5

For Northampton Saints:
Reinach, Tuitavake
Cons: Mallinder 2

Yellow card: Jamie Gibson (Northampton Saints, 40)


Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Sione Vailanu, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Sean Maitland.

Northampton Saints: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Stephenson, 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Harry Mallinder, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Mitch Eadie, 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Christian Day, 4 Michael Paterson, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Campese Ma'afu.
Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Paul Hill, 19 David Ribbans, 20 Lewis Ludlam, 21 Alex Mitchell, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 George North.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant referees: Alexandre Ruiz (France), Thomas Charabas (France)
TMO: Phillippe Bonhoure (France)


Mako Vunipola (14min), Alex Goode (20min), Marcelo Bosch (28min), Richard Wigglesworth (34min), Vincent Koch (40min), Sean Maitland (53min), and Sione Vailanu (62min)
Cobus Reinach (5min) and Nafi Tuitavake (16min)
Owen Farrell (14min), Owen Farrell (21min), Owen Farrell (36min), Owen Farrell (40min), Owen Farrell (54min), and Owen Farrell (63min)
Harry Mallinder (6min) and Harry Mallinder (17min)
Owen Farrell (9min), Owen Farrell (46min), Owen Farrell (49min), Owen Farrell (68min), and Owen Farrell (73min)
Jamie Gibson (40min)
VENUE Allianz Park ( London , England )
REFEREE Mathieu Raynal (France)