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Connacht

  • Poolman, Marmion,
    Penalty goals: Parks,
    Conversions: Parks (2),
17 - 23

Saracens

  • Wyles, Ashton,
    Penalty goals: Farrell (3),
    Conversions: Farrell (2),

Heineken Cup Pool 3: Saracens edged out Connacht in opener

Last updated: 11th October 2013  

Owen Farrell smiling for Saracens

Owen Farrell: Saracens fly-half kicked 13 points

Chris Ashton Neil de Kock Saracens Aviva Premiership Twickenham Stoop

Chris Ashton (right): England international scored Saracens' second try

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Saracens opened their Heineken Cup Pool 3 campaign with a 23-17 win away to Connacht.

Early tries from Chris Wyles and Chris Ashton looked to have put the in-form English side on the way to a comfortable night in Galway.

But it did work out that way; Connacht responded with two tries of their own through Kieran Marmion and Danie Poolman to level at 17-17 by half-time.

Saracens reasserted their dominance after the break and two penalties from Owen Farrell in the second half were enough to give them their sixth straight win in all competitions.

Fast start

Saracens scored twice inside eight minutes; Wyles taking the outside route to the line after his centre partner Joel Tomkins created some extra space with a decoy run and, after a Dan Parks penalty put Connacht on the board, Ashton finished off a flowing move in the right corner.

Farrell converted both for a 14-3 lead but Connacht tightened up in defence and gradually began to enjoy more territory.

And the Irish province had their first try in the 17th minute, scrum-half Marmion pouncing on a loose ball and running it in under the posts after Parks' up-and-under was spilled.

A Farrell penalty extended Saracens' advantage to 17-10 after Connacht infringed at a ruck but it was the home side who continued to press and they got their second try on 31 minutes when Marmion sent wing Poolman over from close range. Parks' second conversion levelled things up at 17-17.

Fraser injured

Saracens, who lost flanker Will Fraser to injury before half-time, enjoyed a stranglehold on territory after the break but were twice stopped just short in quick succession.

Farrell put his team back in front with a 53rd-minute penalty and padded the lead to six points with another three pointer - which took his personal tally to 13 points - with four minutes remaining.

Connacht roused themselves for one last effort and the match ended with Saracens having to stand firm in defence on their own line to complete a hard-fought victory.

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