Sarries gear up to defend title

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 08:53
Large saracens celebrate euro cup win 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Saracens will start the defence of their European Rugby Champions Cup next weekend in excellent form, after a 38-19 home win over Wasps on Sunday lifted them to the top of the Premiership.

The Cup holders, who begin their bid for a hat-trick of Champions Cup successes with a trip to English rivals Northampton Saints in Pool 2 next Sunday, edged a point clear of Exeter Chiefs with their fifth victory in six games.

British and Irish Lions hooker Jamie George spearheaded the comfortable win with a hat-trick of tries in a game that marked captain Brad Barritt's 200th appearance for Saracens.

"We're in a good place moving forward into Europe," said the London club's American wing, Chris Wyles, who also scored a try.

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In an even better place are Glasgow Warriors, who will open their Pool 3 programme at Exeter as the only team in both European competitions with a 100 percent domestic record.

Dave Rennie's side made it six wins from six games with a dramatic 29-26 triumph over Toyota Cheetahs in South Africa on Friday night thanks to a 76th minute try from Rob Harley made by a pinpoint kick from Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell.

Russell, who also kicked nine points in the Conference A game, said: "It means we've now won all of our games, which gives us momentum going into Europe next weekend,"

Conference B is led by Scarlets, who have two more bonus points than Ulster Rugby and Leinster Rugby after all three notched their fifth win in six matches, Scarlets 19-18 at Ospreys, Leinster 23-17 against Munster Rugby and Ulster 16-18 versus Connacht Rugby.

In France, European Rugby Challenge Cup holders Stade Français Paris continued their recent resurgence with a 31-20 home win over Montpellier, with Jules Plisson the star as he kicked 16 points and created the first of Waisea Nayacalevu's two tries.

Lyon leapfrogged Montpellier into first place in TOP 14 with a 25-6 win at Agen, their sixth success in seven games moving them three points clear and sounding a Challenge Cup warning before their Pool 2 game at Cardiff Blues on Friday night.

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 23 February 2018
Highlanders v Blues 06h35 Dunedin
Rebels v Reds 08h45 Melbourne
Munster v Glasgow Warriors 19h00 Irish Independent Park
Dragons v Edinburgh 19h30 Rodney Parade
Leinster v Kings 19h35 RDS
Scarlets v Ulster 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
France v Italy 20h00 Paris
Sat, 24 February 2018
Sunwolves v Brumbies 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Chiefs 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Stormers 08h45 Allianz Park
Treviso v Connacht 12h00 Stadio Monigo
Bath v Sale Sharks 12h30 Recreation Ground
Lions v Jaguares 13h05 Johannesburg
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Ireland v Wales 14h15 Aviva Stadium
Gloucester v Wasps 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Newcastle Falcons 15h00 Twickenham Stoop
Bulls v Hurricanes 15h15 Loftus Versfeld
Scotland v England 16h45 BT Murrayfield
Ospreys v Cheetahs 17h30 Liberty Stadium
Sun, 25 February 2018
Zebre v Cardiff Blues 13h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Madejski Stadium
Saracens v Leicester Tigers 15h30 Allianz Park
EUROPEAN CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 6 4 0 2 20
Wasps 6 3 0 3 17
Ulster 6 4 0 2 17
Harlequins 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Clermont Auvergne 6 5 0 1 22
Saracens 6 3 1 2 18
Ospreys 6 2 1 3 15
Northampton Saints 6 1 0 5 6
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 6 6 0 0 27
Exeter Chiefs 6 3 0 3 15
Montpellier 6 2 0 4 13
Glasgow Warriors 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Munster 6 4 1 1 21
Racing Metro 6 4 0 2 19
Castres 6 2 1 3 12
Leicester Tigers 6 1 0 5 7
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Scarlets 6 4 0 2 21
Toulon 6 4 0 2 19
Bath 6 4 0 2 18
Treviso 6 0 0 5 4