Saracens 14-46 Clermont: Mark McCall's men slip to sixth straight defeat in all competitions
Last Updated: 12/12/17 8:03am
Alivereti Raka scored a hat-trick as Clermont thrashed Saracens 46-14 at Allianz Park to condemn the defending European champions to their sixth straight loss in all competitions.
The 25-year-old Fijian winger's stunning all-round display - a superb solo run also set up Flip van der Merwe for a try - was the perfect riposte to their defeat by Saracens in the final last season.
Clermont's achievement was put in perspective by being the first team to beat Saracens at their home ground in European competition and the first to beat the champions in Europe in two-and-a-half years.
The result means for the first time in 14 years, Saracens have lost six successive matches, following three league defeats and two more in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
Saracens' defeat, in which they conceded their most points in European competition, also rounded off a terrible weekend for English clubs with all seven beaten in their European Champions Cup clashes.
Victory saw Clermont - who are struggling in the Top 14 this term lying ninth in the table - leapfrog Saracens to top Pool Two by four points.
They could make life even more difficult for the English side if they beat them in France this Sunday, with Welsh region Ospreys breathing down the champions' necks, just two points behind Saracens. Only the three best runners-up qualify for the knock-out rounds alongside the five pool winners.
Raka destroyed Saracens in the first-half, notching his hat-trick within 25 minutes through a mixture of electric pace and missed tackles by the likes of the normally reliable hooker Jamie George.
At that stage the visitors led 21-0. Saracens - who lost defensive linchpin Brad Barritt in the early minutes - had a brief glimmer of hope when Nigel Owens awarded them a penalty try and sin-binned Fritz Lee in the 28th minute.
However, Clermont pulled further away as the metronomic Morga Parra landed a penalty for 24-7 and to add insult to injury, Clermont turned the ball over with seconds ticking away in the first-half and Saracens metres from their line.
Any hopes of an astonishing comeback ended inside six minutes of the second-half as Raka ran from inside his own territory, beating several tackles before unselfishly offloading to Van der Merwe to score - Parra converted for 31-7.
Wesley Fofana was next on the board as he ghosted through the stretched defence of the hosts to dot down in the corner, and Morgan Parra continued his fine kicking display to convert and then add a penalty for a 41-7 advantage.
George Kruis pulled one back for Saracens when he was put in a gap and stepped past the despairing tackle of Parra, but Clermont had the final say of the night when Isaia Toeava took an inside pass from Nick Abendanon to cross for Clermont's sixth and final try.