Saracens qualify for home Euro play-off

Owen Farrell was named man of the match

English club Saracens qualified for the European Rugby Champions Cup by beating Ulster 33-17 with a bonus point at Allianz Park.

Saracens, who outscored Ulster by four tries to two in the match are the first team to have qualified for a quarterfinal place which will be at home as they are on 24 points with a match to play.

Irish side Ulster are still in with a chance but they have just 13 points and would need a bonus point victory next week against Oyonnax.

Irish centre Luke Marshall gave Ulster an early lead in the Pool 1 game but a try from Billy Vunipola helped the English Premiership leaders into a 13-7 advantage at the interval.

Duncan Taylor, Maro Itoje and Schalk Brits added further scores for Saracens in the second half which gave them a bonus point victory and a fifth win in five games.

It also allowed them to secure a home tie in the quarter-finals with the win helping to ease the disappointment of losing their unbeaten record in the Premiership at the hands of Harlequins last week.

Saracens, the runners-up to Toulon in 2014, have 24 points while 1999 champions Ulster stay in second place in the pool on 13 points, still with a chance of making the knockout rounds as one of the three best runners-up.

“This competition is massive — it’s the best of the best,” said Saracens’ England fly-half Owen Farrell, who was named man of the match for his inspirational playmaking and his 13 points.

“We don’t pick and choose when to turn up in matches, because we want to win every game, but we have been up there in the Champions Cup in the last few years.

Farrell, watched by England coach Eddie Jones, added: “We’ve been working hard this season to get off to a kind of start we’ve had, but now we’ve got to make sure it stays that way.”

Owen Farrell was named European Rugby Champions Cup of the match.

Final Score Saracens 33 (13) Ulster 17 (7)


Tries – B Vunipola, Taylor, Itoje, Brits
Pen – Farrell
Con – Farrell (4)
Drop –

Tries – Marshall, Humphreys
Pen – Jackson
Con – Jackson (2)
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Jerome Garces (France),
Assistant ref: Mathieu Raynal (France),
Assistant ref: Mathieu Noirot (France),
TMO: Gilles Cogne (France),
Citing Commissioner: Yves Thieffine (France)


Saracens: Ben Ransom; Chris Ashton, Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt (c), Chris Wyles; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth; Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Petrus du Plessis, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Michael Rhodes, Will Fraser, Billy Vunipola

Replacements: Schalk Brits, Richard Barrington, Juan Figallo, Jim Hamilton, Jackson Wray, Neil de Kock, Charlie Hodgson, Duncan Taylor

Ulster Rugby: Jared Payne; Andrew Trimble, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Craig Gilroy; Paddy Jackson, Ruan Pienaar; Kyle McCall, Rory Best (c), Wiehahn Herbst, Alan O’Connor, Franco Van Der Merwe, Robbie Diack, Sean Reidy, Roger Wilson

Replacements: Rob Herring, Callum Black, Ricky Lutton, Lewis Stevenson, Clive Ross, Paul Marshall, Ian Humphreys, Rory Scholes

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