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European round-up: Saracens’ England wings bring smile to McCall’s face

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall believes he has two of the best finishers in the game as David Strettle and Chris Ashton demonstrated their prowess in a European Rugby Champions Cup victory over Clermont Auvergne at Allianz Park.

The French giants visited the London club looking to exact some revenge after Sarries demolished Clermont 46-6 at Twickenham in April.

But they were unable to do that against the Aviva Premiership Rugby stalwarts as wingers Strettle and Ashton each crossed over twice in a 30-23 victory.

Zac Guildford replied with two of his own for the visitors but it was the form of his own flyers that McCall was keen to focus on.

"The two of them [Strettle and Ashton] have been in outstanding form for quite some time now, not just this season but the last 18 months as well,” he said.
"It all depends on what England want to do – do they want to go with youth or experience?

"But either way, it would be hard to find two better finishes than David Strettle's against Clermont. They were high, high class.

"We showed energy and intensity against a really good team."

Elsewhere in Pool One Sale Sharks were left heartbroken as a 40m drop goal from Ian Keatley in the final minute saw Munster squeeze home 27-26 at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Sale looked on course for a famous victory as Danny Cipriani inspired the Aviva Premiership Rugby side to a 23-7 half-time lead.

However tries from Andrew Conway and Conor Murray set up a pulsating finish which enabled fly-half Keatley to rescue Munster with his last-gasp kick, his fifth goal of the game.

In Pool Four high-flying Bath Rugby were brought back down to earth as they were beaten 37-10 by Glasgow Warriors, Mike Ford’s side managing just a sole Jonathan Joseph try while their hosts ran in five scores of their own.

Ford said: "It was disappointing. It is a lesson learned in a tough European tie.

"We are disappointed with the tries that we let in and we let the game get away from us. We didn't finish off the breaks that we had and then they scored a couple of quick tries.

"When that happens, all of a sudden you are on the wrong end of a poor scoreline. We will learn from it though. We are a young side."

There was also disappointment for Northampton Saints as they were downed 20-11 by Racing Metro.

Phil Dowson crossed for a try in France and Stephen Myler added two penalties but Racing Metro left it late to rubberstamp the win, much to Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder’s annoyance.

"It's really disappointing because we were within seven points all game, so losing the bonus point at the last minute is a blow,” Mallinder said.

"But I can't criticise the efforts of my players or their ambitions in trying to win the game.

"Racing are a very good team as we know, they are very physical, strong and probably different from most of the teams we will face in the Premiership.

"But there are still five more games so we are not too down."

However there was better news for Leicester Tigers as they beat Ulster 25-18 at Welford Road thanks to tries from Owen Williams, Graham Kitchener and Freddie Burns.

In the European Rugby Challenge Cup there wasn’t much for Aviva Premiership Rugby to shout about as Exeter and London Welsh both lost in France, to Bayonne and Lyon respectively.

European Rugby Champions Cup
 
Sale 26 Munster 27

 
Sale Sharks
Tries: Lund, Leota
Conversions: Cipriani 2
Penalties: Cipriani 4
 
Munster
Tries: Kilcoyne, Conway, Murray
Conversions: Keatley 2, Hurley
Penalties: Keatley 2
 
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Attendance: 10,500
 
Saracens 30 Clermont Auvergne 23
 
Saracens
Tries: Ashton 2, Strettle 2
Conversions: Hodgson 2
Penalties: Hodgson 2
 
Clermont Auvergne
Tries: Guildford 2
Conversions: Lopez 2
Penalties: Lopez 2
Drop goals: Lopez
 
Referee: John Lacey
Attendance: 8,050
 
Leicester Tigers 25 Ulster 18
 
Leicester Tigers
Tries: Williams, Kitchener, Burns
Conversions: Burns, Williams
Penalties: Williams 2
 
Ulster
Tries: Bowe, Van der Merwe
Conversions: Jackson
Penalties: Jackson 2
 
Referee: Romain Poite
Attendance: 19,943
 
Glasgow Warriors 37 Bath Rugby 10
 
Glasgow Warriors
Tries: Bennett 2, Maitland, Seymour, Matawalu
Conversions: Weir
Penalties: Weir 2
 
Bath Rugby
Tries: Joseph
Conversions: Ford
Penalties: Ford
 
Referee: Jerome Garces
Attendance: 6,746
 
Racing Metro 20 Northampton Saints 11
 
Racing Metro
Tries: Van Der Merwe, Andreu
Conversions: Sexton, Goosen
Penalties: Sexton 2
 
Northampton Saints
Tries: Dowson
Penalties: Myler 2
 
Referee: George Clancy
Attendance: 9,181
 
European Rugby Challenge Cup
 
Bayonne 30 Exeter Chiefs 24

 
Bayonne
Tries: Fonua, Sayerse, Fa’aoso
Conversions: Loustalot 3
Penalties: Loustalot 3
 
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Hughes, Rimmer
Conversions: Sweeney
Penalties: Sweeney 3, Arnott
 
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon
Attendance: 8,206
 
Lyon 28 London Welsh 18
 
Lyon
Tries: Januarie, Estebanez, Romanet, Sukanaveita
Conversions: Porical 4
 
London Welsh
Tries: Elder, Lewis
Conversions: Roberts
Penalties: Roberts 2
 

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