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- European Rugby Champions Cup
- Pool 3
- 18th Jan 2014
- KO 13:35
- Ground: Allianz Park
- Att: 10,000
Heineken Cup Pool 3: Saracens crush Connacht to reach quarter-finals
- Heineken Cup live!
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- Cup calculations
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- Warburton nearing return
- Muller hails prolific Pienaar
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- Backing Clermont
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- Leinster safely through
- Toulouse edge past Zebre
- Toulon hold their nerve
- Pienaar stars in Ulster win
- Home comforts for Munster
- Clermont book date with Tigers
- Botica boots Quins to victory
- Gloucester win in Perpignan
- Montpellier crush Treviso
- Heineken Cup group stages conclude
- McCall delight at outstanding response
- Saracens 64-6 Connacht – Evans blog
- Quins march on in Europe
- Poor discipline costs Scarlets
- O'Shea delighted to remain in Europe
- Hines demands improvement
- Munster display clinical finishing
- Evans: Bonus point gives us a chance
Saracens clinched a place in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a 64-6 demolition of Connacht at Allianz Park.
Needing just a win over the Irish side to secure second place in Pool 3 and one of the two best runners-up quarter-final places, Saracens ran in 11 tries in total.
Sarries scored tries through David Strettle (3), Chris Ashton (2), Alex Goode, Chris Wyles, Jackson Wray, George Kruis, James Johnston, and Schalk Brits. Had Charlie Hodgson not missed eight difficult kicks, the hosts would have won by an even bigger margin.
Hodgson's misses and two penalties from Dan Parks allowed the Irish to remain in contention for much of the first half - but it was all one-way traffic after Connacht prop Nathan White had picked up a yellow card.
Brits and the Vunipola brothers, Mako and Billy, were at the heart of a dominant home pack which enabled star performer Goode and Brad Barritt to impress in the back line.
Hodgson was selected at fly-half for the hosts with Owen Farrell on the bench. Duncan Taylor was included in the centre in place of Wyles and there were recalls to the starting line-up for forwards Matt Stevens, Kruis and Ernst Joubert.
Connacht opted for experience with Parks, Gavin Duffy and Michael Swift back in the side - and Parks made no mistake with an early penalty.
Hodgson was wide with a long-range penalty attempt but soon after the home side led with a well-crafted try.
From a scrum 35 metres out, Barritt and Mako Vunipola made penetrative runs which put the visitors' defence on the back foot. The ball was recycled and a neat pass from Hodgson gave Ashton just enough room for the wing to squeeze in at the corner.
Hodgson missed the conversion and declined to attempt a kickable penalty as Saracens chose a more attacking option - but they were not rewarded as Billy Vunipola was unable to force his way over from a line-out five metres out.
Despite having the better of the opening quarter, Saracens trailed 6-5 at the end of it after Parks kicked his second penalty.
Hodgson was successful with his third kick at goal before Saracens scored another excellent try - Goode and Hodgson making enterprising runs to provide Strettle with an easy touchdown.
Connacht suffered a further blow when White was sin-binned for stamping on Barritt in a ruck, with the TMO deciding that a yellow card was a sufficient punishment.
This proved costly as with the last play of the half, Brits finished off a line-out drive to give Saracens an 18-6 interval lead.
Within two minutes of the restart, the bonus point was in the bag. From inside his own 22, Goode ran brilliantly to evade five defenders before feeding Taylor, whose pass sent Strettle in his for his second try.
White returned but it made no difference as the irrepressible Goode again tore apart the visitors' defence to score a superb solo try.
With the game won, Saracens made a raft of changes with five substitutions in quick succession but it did not stop their flow with Kruis forcing his way over for the try which Hodgson converted to loud cheers.
Hodgson was replaced by Farrell but this was soon reversed as Farrell left the field with a cut head.
However Saracens continued on the rampage with replacements, Wyles, Wray and Johnston all scoring tries before Strettle and Ashton crossed to ensure Connacht were routed.
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European Rugby Champions Cup Table
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|Friday 17th October|
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Castres|
|Saturday 18th October|
|13:00||Sale vs Munster|
|15:15||Saracens vs Clermont Auvergne|
|19:45||Leicester vs Ulster|
|15:15||Glasgow vs Bath|
|17:15||Racing Metro 92 vs Northampton|
|Sunday 19th October|
|17:15||Leinster vs Wasps|
|15:15||Toulon vs Scarlets|
|13:00||Toulouse vs Montpellier|
|13:00||Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso|
|Friday 24th October|
|19:45||Munster vs Saracens|
|Saturday 25th October|
|13:00||Ulster vs Toulon|
|19:45||Scarlets vs Leicester|
|15:15||Bath vs Toulouse|
|17:15||Montpellier vs Glasgow|
|17:15||Northampton vs Ospreys|
|Sunday 26th October|
|13:00||Clermont Auvergne vs Sale|
|15:00||Castres vs Leinster|
|17:15||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|17:15||Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92|
|Saturday 6th December|
|TBC||Munster vs Clermont Auvergne|
|TBC||Sale vs Saracens|
|TBC||Castres vs Wasps|
|TBC||Harlequins vs Leinster|
|TBC||Ulster vs Scarlets|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com