Saracens leave it late to secure bonus-point win over Lyon

Substitute Alex Lewington goes over for fourth try with three minutes to go

Saracens’ Maro Itoje his side’s first  try during the Heineken  Champions Cup game against Lyon at Allianz Park. Photograph:  Steven Paston/PA Wire

Saracens’ Maro Itoje his side’s first try during the Heineken Champions Cup game against Lyon at Allianz Park. Photograph: Steven Paston/PA Wire

 

Saracens 29 Lyon 10

Saracens made it two wins from two in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup, producing a clinical display to seal a 29-10 bonus-point win over Lyon.

Mark McCall’s men were not at their best after the 12-3 victory over Glasgow on Europe’s opening weekend but they still came out on top.

Tries from Maro Itoje and Sean Maitland plus a penalty and two conversions from Owen Farrell put the hosts in control with 40 minutes played.

Captain Brad Barritt got his team’s third try in the 46th minute but it took until three minutes from time for the crucial fourth score to arrive thanks to Alex Lewington.

Lyon crossed through Virgile Lacombe, but their European dream now looks over after back-to-back defeats.

Saracens were in almost complete control from the first whistle.

Farrell kicked a penalty in just the third minute and it was no surprise when the tries soon arrived.

After relentless home pressure, Itoje came up with the first score when the England international stripped the ball from giant Lyon lock Etienne Oosthuizen in impressive fashion and ran to the line. Farrell converted.

The second home try was a shocker from a French perspective. Alex Goode kicked through and although the ball went almost straight to Jean-Marc Doussain, the Lyon scrumhalf could not deal with it and Maitland ended up as the beneficiary.

The Saracens winger’s surprise was obvious as he scored and Farrell converted to make it 17-0.

Lyon got on the board through a Lionel Beauxis penalty and although the visitors finally began to see a bit of the ball, they trailed by 14 points at the break.

Rudi Wulf’s break and powerful run was denied by an excellent tackle from Goode.

Saracens got their third try at the start of the second period, Barritt driven over for what was his team’s 100th Champions Cup effort. The score was confirmed via the TMO and Farrell kicked the goal.

At 24-3 Lyon faced a tough task to come back, but when Toby Arnold hacked on a loose ball, his pick-up was hindered by a cruel bounce of the ball and the chance was lost.

Even without injured England forward trio Mako and Billy Vunipola and Nick Isiekwe, the Saracens pack was in outstanding form and both teams shuffled their sides in search of fresh legs. It worked for Lyon who to their credit, did not give up.

Doussain took a quick tap from a penalty and replacement Lacombe picked up and crashed over between the posts. It meant Beauxis couldn’t miss with his conversion.

Saracens were suddenly in a hurry. Itoje went on the rampage and fed Farrell, but a superb tackle by covering Lyon defender Pierre-Louis Barassi stopped a try.

But there was still time for Lewington to finish off a flowing team move for the bonus point try and Farrell’s missed conversion mattered little.

SARACENS: A Goode; L Williams, N Tompkins, B Barritt, S Maitland; O Farrell, B Spencer; R Barrington, J George, V Koch; W Skelton, G Kruis; M Itoje, M Rhodes, J Wray.

Replacements: S Burger for Skelton (51 mins), R Wigglesworth for Spencer (56), A Lewington for Maitland (59), C Tolofua for George, T Lamositele for Koch (both 61), B Earl for Rhodes (68), M Bosch for Tompkins, H Thompson-Stringer for Barrington (both 71).

LYON: J-M Buttin; T Arnold, R Wulf, A Seguret, A Palisson; L Beauxis, J-M Doussain; H Kaabeche, J Maurouard, C Ric; F Lambey, E Oosthuizen; D Cretin, P Sobela, D Fourie.

Replacements: A Buckle for Kaabeche, V Lacombe for Maurouard, R Choirat for Ric (all 49 mins), C Fearns for Fourie (56), P-L Barassi for Wulf (62), X Mignot for Arnold (67), F Van Der Merwe for Oosthuizen (70), Q Delord for Doussain (74).

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