Saracens smash Clermont to book Euro Cup final

English club Saracens booked a place in the Heineken Cup final when they smashed French club ASM Clermont 46-6 in their European Cup Semi-final at Twickenham Stadium.

Saracens reached their first ever Heineken Cup final with a record 46-6 victory
over last year’s finalists Clermont at Twickenham on Saturday.

Saracens, who were beaten at Twickenham by Toulon in last year’s semi-final,
ran in six tries with England wing Chris Ashton scoring two of them to break
the record for tries in a Heineken Cup season with 11.

They will face either holders Toulon or two-time champions Munster who play
their semi-final in Marseille on Sunday.

Saracens made light of England fly-half Owen Farrell being unable to kick because
he had not fully recovered from a right foot injury he suffered a fortnight
ago with those duties going to fullback Alex Goode.

Indeed the hosts went ahead in front of a disappointingly sparse Twickenham
crowd through a try by Ashton in the eighth minute as the England wing was released
by England centre Brad Barritt and ran in to touch down in the corner.

Goode converted brilliantly for 7-0.

The French side reduced the deficit four minutes later as Morgan Parra kicked
a penalty to take his points total in the competition during his career to over
the 250 mark.

Referee Nigel Owens made a huge call in the 14th minute when he not only sin-binned
Brock James for deliberately knocking it over the deadball line but also awarded
Saracens a penalty try as in his and the video referee’s mind Marcelo Bosch
would have scored a try had James not intervened.

While James departed shaking his head Goode converted from in front of the
posts for 14-3 and boos rang out from the French club’s supporters.

They were even less happy with Owens when they had a try by Benson Stanley
ruled out because of obstruction by French lock forward Damien Chouly on Farrell.

Nevertheless the visitors emerged from those 10 minutes without James having
not conceded a point and a penalty from Parra 12 minutes from half-time saw
them move to within eight points at 14-6.

Saracens scored their third try of the match as benefiting from another referral
to the video referee the ball was judged to have come off Farrell’s knee and
not his hand before he followed up to touch down.

Goode converted for 21-6 and then added a penalty in the 38th minute as a rampant
Saracens left Clermont reeling.

Clermont were unable to get an early score in the second-half and it was Saracens
who extended their lead as Bosch kicked a long range penalty in the 53rd minute
for 27-6.

Clermont all but raised the white flag as they withdrew the ineffectual James
and Parra but it had little impact as Ashton then broke the try record, set
by Frenchman Sebastien Carrat in the 1997/98 season for Brive, running onto
the ball to touch down.

Goode slipped up for once in missing the conversion.

The pain, though, was not over for the stunned French side as Ashton then played
a pivotal role bursting through the centre and the ball got worked out to American
Chris Wyles who went in in the corner. Goode converted to make it 39-6.

The English side were not in the mood to ease off and poured even more salt
on the Clermont wound in the final minute as Tim Streather went over and Goode
converted.

Final Score Saracens 46 (24) ASM Clermont 6 (6)

Scorers

Saracens
Tries – Ashton (2), Penalty, Farrell, Wyles, Streather
Pen – Goode, Bosch
Con – Goode (5)
Drop –

ASM Clermont
Tries –
Pen – Parra (2)
Con –
Drop –

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