Sarries win bad news for Munster
Heineken Cup round-up:Munster’s Heineken Cup destiny is out of their own hands after Racing Metro were beaten at home by Saracens with the English side assuming pole position in Pool One. The 37-28 win in Nantes moves Saracens to 18 points, seven ahead of Munster who face Edinburgh tomorrow afternoon.
With Saracens rounding off their campaign at home the winless Scots next weekend, they seem destined to top the group with Munster – like Leinster - now hoping for one of the best runners-up spots for a way into the quarter-finals.
Owen Farrell kicked a record 10 penalties for the visitors at Stade de la Beaujoire. The England outhalf was imperious with the boot in the face a partisan French crowd with a perfect 11 kicks from as many attempts in a staggering 32-point haul. Chris Wyles scored Saracens’ only try of a tense clash though Saracens had to cope with two yellow cards, a try deficit of three to one and a worrying injury to David Strettle to pull off a vital victory.
The result leaves Saracens one win away from reaching the quarter-finals for the second year in succession.
In Pool Five,Clermont Auvergne ran in five tries to secure their place in the knockout stages with a bonus-point victory over Exeter. The French giants led 20-3 at the break thanks to tries from Wesley Fofana and Jean-Marcellin Buttin.
Exeter fought bravely following the restart, but the pressure eventually told and Clermont ruthlessly completed the job with further touchdowns for Damien Chouly, David Skrela, Buttin and Napolioni Nalaga.
The victory, Clermont’s 54th in a row at Stade Marcel Michellin, secures their place in the quarter-finals as Pool Five winners and they can ensure a home draw in their final group-stage match against the Scarlets, who were well beaten in Dublin by Leinster this evening.
In Pool Six, Toulon demolished Cardiff 45-25 to march into the Heineken Cup knockout stages. The Blues made a bright start at Stade Felix Mayol and surged into an 8-0 lead thanks to Leigh Halfpenny’s early try.
But Toulon fought back and ran riot with seven tries through Rudi Wulf, Xavier Chiocci, Jean-Charles Orioli, Maxi Mermoz, Alexis Palisson, Mathieu Bastareaud and Florian Fresia. The bonus-point victory sees Toulon restore their five-point lead at the top of Pool Six and while they are already through, they can secure a home quarter-final in next week’s trip to Montpellier.
The Blues fought back with tries from Alex Cuthbert, Dafydd Hewitt and Halfpenny but it was a mere consolation.
Argentinian centre Marcelo Bosch scored two tries as Biarritz recorded a comfortable bonus-point win over Zebre in Pool Three in Parma. Centre Benoit Baby and Fijian Seremaia Burotu scored Biarritz’s other tries, Dimitri Yachvili converting three of them and also kicking two penalties.
Zebre’s points came from two penalties by outside-half Luciano Orquera. The win leaves Biarritz second in the group on 14 points, 10 behind leaders Harlequins with one game remaining and needing other results to go their way to qualify, with Zebre bottom and pointless.