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  • Strettle, Wigglesworth, Ashton, Burger, Taylor (2), George, Vunipola, Ransom,
    Penalty goals: Farrell,
    Conversions: Farrell (8),
64 - 3

Zebre


  • Penalty goals: Orquera,

Heineken Cup Pool 3: Saracens' Chris Ashton draws praise on his return to action

Last updated: 14th December 2013  

Heineken Cup Pool 3: Saracens' Chris Ashton draws praise on his return to action

Mark McCall: Saracens did the double over Zebre

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Saracens boss Mark McCall hailed the performance of returning England international Chris Ashton during the nine-try mauling of Zebre.

Tries from David Strettle, Jacques Burger, Jamie George, Richard Wigglesworth, Ben Ransom, Billy Vunipola, Ashton and a double from Duncan Taylor saw McCall's men claim a 64-3 bonus-point win.

"I thought he (Chris Ashton) did well in the autumn and he enjoys coming back to the club. We know how good he is," said McCall. "He has always been good for us and he was good again today.

"I think he gets scrutinised more than other players and people look for small incidents rather than looking at his strengths.

"He gets a different kind of scrutiny than everyone else which is unfair.

"He was superb today. He's been good for a period of time and people look to criticise him for small mistakes.

"It was a good performance today, probably better than last week. I'm pleased we went for 80 minutes and scored more tries in the second half than we did last week.

"We got 10 points - that was our minimum requirement over the two games against Zebre.

"We need to go and win in Toulouse if we want to top the group and get that home quarter-final. We need as many points as we can.

"But for now we'll deal with the Premiership as we've got three games before then.

"The squad's in a happy place at the moment but we've got a massive and different challenge next week against the Leicester Tigers."

Off the pace

The only points for Zebre came from the boot of Luciano Orquera and Italian skipper Marco Bortolami admitted he was disappointed with his side's performance.

"It was difficult for us because we couldn't handle the pressure Saracens put on us," Bortolami said. "It was very difficult and hard to play against them.

"We're not used to this pace. If you're not in the right position you can't be effective in the tackle or what you do so we have to work on that.

"Our movement around the ruck wasn't good or quick enough. They got on the front foot every single time and we could not stop them.

"Overall it wasn't a decent performance. The game was probably over at half-time.

"I think Saracens can go very far in the tournament. They're very well organised, very physical. They're hard to play against and if they keep this momentum they can go to the end.

"We've got two hard games left. Both teams will come to us to get qualification for the quarter-finals.

"The Heineken Cup is very hard and for such a young team like we are it is very difficult, but we have to look forward and keep working hard and it will be better next game."

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European Rugby Champions Cup Table

European Rugby Champions Cup Table - January 19 2014
Pos Team P Pts
4 Zebre 6 0
Forthcoming European Rugby Champions Cup Fixtures
TimeFixture
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 17th October
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Harlequins vs Castres
Saturday 18th October
13:00Sale vs Munster
15:15Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Leicester vs Ulster
15:15Glasgow vs Bath
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton
Sunday 19th October
17:15Leinster vs Wasps
15:15Toulon vs Scarlets
13:00Toulouse vs Montpellier
13:00Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso
Friday 24th October
19:45Munster vs Saracens
Saturday 25th October
13:00Ulster vs Toulon
19:45Scarlets vs Leicester
15:15Bath vs Toulouse
17:15Montpellier vs Glasgow
17:15Northampton vs Ospreys
Sunday 26th October
13:00Clermont Auvergne vs Sale
15:00Castres vs Leinster
17:15Wasps vs Harlequins
17:15Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92
Saturday 6th December
TBCMunster vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCSale vs Saracens
TBCCastres vs Wasps
TBCHarlequins vs Leinster
TBCUlster vs Scarlets

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