Undefeated Saracens retain European Rugby Champions Cup
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) Saracens won successive European Rugby Champions Cups when it beat Clermont 28-17 in a rousing final at Murrayfield on Saturday.
Saracens always led, but Clermont came back to trail by only one at 18-17 in the 60th minute. But Saracens then made all the play, missing a couple of good try chances by a bad pass and good defense until, almost inevitably, captain Owen Farrell’s delayed pass put fullback Alex Goode into a gap and over the line with seven minutes to go.
Farrell converted for 25-17, Morgan Parra missed his first goalkick that would have revived Clermont’s dying hopes, and Farrell capped the scoring with his third penalty. The competition’s leading scorer kicked over 13 points.
Saracens is only the fourth team to successfully defend the title after fellow English side Leicester in 2001-02, Ireland’s Leinster in 2011-12, and France’s Toulon in 2013-14-15.
Clermont lost the final for the third time in five seasons, the previous two to Toulon.
Goode helped Saracens blast off with a chip for winger Chris Ashton to pick up and score the opening try, and his competition-record 37th, surpassing Vincent Clerc.
Goode then had a big hand in the buildup to lock George Kruis’ try as Saracens improved to 12-0.
Clermont rebounded with a Remi Lamerat converted try to trail 12-7 at halftime.
Farrell and Parra traded penalties, and Clermont continued its revival with a 90-meter counterattack capped by a Nick Abendanon try from a superb offload by flanker Peceli Yato.
That left the stage for Farrell and Goode to finish off a superb final.
Saracens 28 (Chris Ashton, George Kruis, Alex Goode tries; Owen Farrell 2 conversions, 3 penalties), Clermont Auvergne 17 (Remi Lamerat, Nick Abendanon tries; Morgan Parra 2 conversions, penalty). HT: 12-7