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Saracens

  • Strettle,
    Penalty goals: Farrell (4),
    Conversions: Farrell,
19 - 13

Munster

  • Howlett,
    Penalty goals: O'Gara (2),
    Conversions: O'Gara,
  • European Rugby Champions Cup
  • Pool 1
  • 16th Dec 2012
  • KO 15:00
  • Ground: Vicarage Road
  • Att: 16,223

Heineken Cup: Saracens take charge of Pool 1 with win over Munster

Last updated: 17th December 2012   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Doug Howlett of Munster outpaces Chris Ashton of Saracens

Doug Howlett outpaces Chris Ashton to score Munster's first-half try

Saracens Richard Wigglesworth

Saracens scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth spins out a pass

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Saracens moved to the top of Heineken Cup Pool 1 after battling their way to a 19-13 victory over Munster at Vicarage Road.

Sarries' dominance up front for long periods of a gritty contest just about earned them the verdict, although Munster had their chances to take more than one point back home to Limerick.

Owen Farrell missed an early drop goal attempt but Steve Borthwick won a penalty from the re-start and Farrell kicked the three points from 45 metres.

Ronan O'Gara's clever chip almost created an early chance for Simon Zebo and the veteran fly-half levelled the scores on 15 minutes, moments after missing a straightforward penalty.

On 20 minutes Sarries had the try their early pressure deserved, Richard Wigglesworth sliding through a beautifully weighted kick and with no cover behind a flat defensive line, winger David Strettle raced in to touch down. Farrell converted and Saracens led 10-3.

But five minutes later Munster were level almost from nowhere, as a sloppy pass in midfield from Farrell was intercepted by James Downey, who delayed his offload perfectly to send Doug Howlett in, with O'Gara converting to level the scores.

Farrell missed a straightforward chance to edge Saracens ahead just before the half and then wasted an even easier chance after the resumption.

Saracens had no reward for dominating 80 per cent of possession in the opening 10 minutes and O'Gara made them pay when Chris Ashton was caught in possession.

But Farrell did find his range with two penalties around the hour mark as the lead changed hands again, before Will Fraser was yellow carded for a high shot on Doug Howlett.

Munster attempted to turn the screw but after 24 phases of pressure around the Saracens 22, O'Gara was wide with drop goal attempt.

Worse was to follow for the Munster No 10 as he dragged a simple penalty wide that would have levelled the scores. After aggressive Saracens defence won a penalty in the Munster half, Farrell stretched the lead and Saracens were able to hold on to it for the final five minutes.

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European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday 5th December
European Rugby Champions Cup
19:45Montpellier vs Bath
Saturday 6th December
13:00Sale vs Saracens
17:30Munster vs Clermont Auvergne
19:45Ulster vs Scarlets
13:00Benetton Treviso vs Northampton
15:15Ospreys vs Racing Metro 92
Sunday 7th December
13:00Castres vs Wasps
15:15Harlequins vs Leinster
17:30Leicester vs Toulon
15:15Toulouse vs Glasgow
Friday 12th December
19:45Bath vs Montpellier
Saturday 13th December
17:15Saracens vs Sale
19:45Leinster vs Harlequins
15:15Toulon vs Leicester
13:00Glasgow vs Toulouse
15:15Northampton vs Benetton Treviso
17:15Racing Metro 92 vs Ospreys
Sunday 14th December
15:15Clermont Auvergne vs Munster
13:00Wasps vs Castres
17:15Scarlets vs Ulster
Saturday 17th January
TBCSaracens vs Munster
TBCSale vs Clermont Auvergne
TBCHarlequins vs Wasps
TBCLeinster vs Castres
TBCLeicester vs Scarlets

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