Fourteen-man Saracens keep play-off hopes alive
MATCH REPORT: Defending Champions Saracens kept their quarter-final hopes alive with a 22-15 win over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.
Despite having prop Rhys Carre sent off in the fifth minute, the defending champions leapfrogged over Munster Rugby into second place with a hard-fought win at Ospreys and piled the pressure on the Irish province for their match at leaders Racing 92 on Sunday.
The 19-year-old flyhalf Manu Vunipola was their hero with six goals from six attempts, which comprised five penalties and the conversion of Lewington’s second-half try.
Dan Evans scored two tries for Ospreys when Sarries were reduced to 13 men after Calum Clark was yellow-carded, but they could make no headway against the defending champions’ 14 men.
Vunipola had already kicked his first penalty when Carre was red-carded for a dangerous tackle and Luke Price levelled with a penalty on 12 minutes.
But Vunipola continued to kick his penalties, pulling Saracens 12-3 ahead – until Clark infringed at a ruck in the 34th minute.
From a driving line-out, Ospreys spun the ball along the line and full-back Evans spotted a gap to slide under the posts to give Price a simple conversion.
Evans struck again three minutes into the second half while Sarries were still down to 13 men, but Price missed the conversion.
Vunipola showed how it was done when Lewington leapt like a salmon to catch Richard Wigglesworth’s pinpoint kick and raced away to score near the posts in the 51st minute for the decisive try.
Tries: Evens 2
Con: M Vunipola
Pens: M Vunipola 5
Yellow card: Calum Clark (Saracens, 33)
Red Card: Rhys Carre (Saracens, 4)
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 George North, 12 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Luke Price, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Dan Lydiate (captain), 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Scott Otten, 1 Darryl Marfo
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Rhys Fawcett, 18 Simon Gardiner, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Dan Baker, 21 Aled Davies, 22 Cai Evans, 23 Lesley Klim
Saracens: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Alex Lozowski, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Manu Vunipola, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray (captain), 7 Calum Clark, 6 Nick Isiekwe, 5 George Kruis, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Titi Lamositele, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Rhys Carre
Replacements: 16 Tom Woolstencroft, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Joel Kpoku, 20 Sean Reffell, 21 Tom Whiteley, 22 Rotimi Segun, 23 Ali Crossdale
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant referees: Ludovic Cayre (France), Cedric Marchat (France)
TMO: Patrick Dellac (France)
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