Match Centre: Champions Cup: Saracens 55-36 Connacht

Jamie George scored two tries for Saracens
Jamie George scored two tries for Saracens

Saracens 55-36 Connacht, Pool 1, StoneX Stadium

Jamie George and Olly Hartley scored doubles as Saracens defeated Connacht 55-36 in the second round of the Investec Champions Cup at the StoneX Stadium.

This was a first win for Saracens in the competition as they now have increased their tally to five points while Connacht now have two defeats from as many games and are languishing at the bottom of Pool 1.

Saracens started the proceedings with a seventh minute try as Juan Martin Gonzalez collected a high kick from Owen Farrell and went past four defenders to go over the line but the skipper missed out on the conversion.

Connacht responded back in the 12th minute as Bundee Aki powered over following a rumbling maul in the 12th minute that Jack Carty improved to put the Irish province in front.

Saracens riding on a penalty goal from Farrell took the lead but once again Connacht dived from close range in the 24th minute and Carty followed with a conversion and a penalty goal to take the visitors to a 8-17 lead.

It was total domination from Saracens in the final eight minutes of the opening half as Saracens won a penalty to take them to a striking distance and George stayed at the base to dot down in the corner in the 32nd minute and at the stroke of half time he scored his second at the back of a rolling maul as they headed into the break with a 21-17 lead.

Saracens extended their momentum into the second half as Olly Hartley collected a grubber kick from Alex Goode to touchdown and Farrell improved to make it 28-17. The 50th minute saw Connacht reduced to 14 players temporarily as Cian Prendergast was sin binned for a cynical foul and with the numerical advantage on their side, Sean Maitland collected on a looping pass from Farrell to dot down making it 38-17.

The 56th minute saw Ivan van Zyl release Lucio Cinti who raced clear from 30 metres to score his first Saracens try and shortly Maro Itoje was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle. The start of the final quarter saw replacement JJ Hanrahan scoring after collecting an offload from Aki bring down the trail to 19 points.

Saracens breached the 50 point mark with Hartley's second in the 63rd minute but Joe Joyce responded back for Connacht as the scoreline became 50-29 heading into the final 10 minutes. The closing stage saw Theo Dan and Cian Prendergast trade tries as Mark McCall's men completed their first win of the competition.

Team line up:

Saracens: Goode; Cinti Luna, Tompkins, Hartley, Maitland; Farrell, Davies; M Vunipola, George, Clarey, Itoje, McFarland, Gonzalez, Christie, B Vunipola.

Reserves: Dan, West, Mulipola, Tizard, Knight, Van Zyl, Parton, Lewington.

Connacht: Porch; Ralston, Farrell, Aki, Bolton; Carty, Blade; Duggan, Heffernan, Aungier, D Murray, Thornbury, Prendergast, Oliver, Boyle.

Reserves: Tierney-Martin, Buckley, Bealham, Joyce, Butler, McDonald, Hanrahan, Kilgallen.


European Rugby Champions Cup Points Table