TOP BAR - Fixtures

Match Reaction: Saracens 21 Racing 92 9

Captain Brad Barritt believes that the pressure eventually told after leading Saracens to their first-ever European Champions Cup title with a 21-9 win over Racing 92 in Lyon.

Mark McCall’s side had Owen Farrell to thank for the victory – the fly-half slotting seven penalties in wet conditions in the Grand Stade de Lyon.

Saracens had never before won Europe’s premier tournament despite a number of near misses.

They were runners-up in 2014 and have been in the semi-finals for the last four years but 2016 was the year that they made it count.  

"There was a belief coming into this game, that this was our year,” said Barritt.

“We came up short against Toulon two years ago and that galvanized us. We speak metaphorically about pounding the rock and today that rock broke.

“This team stood up and I could not be more proud of to a be part of squad.”

Saracens become the first English team to conquer Europe since Wasps in 2007 and they have the chance for double glory with the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals next weekend.

And McCall insists that the best is still to come from his young side packed with England internationals like Farrell, Maro Itoje, George Kruis and the Vunipola brothers.

"We played a really clever game, it was a really mature performance and I am delighted for the players and the backroom staff and for Nigel Wray who has put his heart and soul into the club over the last 20 years and finally gets his reward,” said the director of rugby.

"We have a good age profile in this group, the best is yet to come. Tonight was important after two years ago when we lost to Toulon. We did not just muscle up but we were tactically good and smart.

"We have to stay humble and hungry enough and there is more to come from the team.

"We will let the players celebrate, they have invested a lot into the Premiership season and we have the challenge there and have to invest a bit more."

Farrell re-iterated his boss, insisting that the character of the side had shone through in adversity.

"You could see by how many mistakes there were how difficult the conditions were. There was good intent but it was not a day for running rugby. They got a good bit of momentum heading into the final 20 minutes,” said the fly-half – who did not miss a kick at goal all day.

"But some of our guys who like the turnovers and the big hits managed to turn the tide. Everyone here is working hard to get better. Everyone makes the most of the day in front of them."

Racing coach Ronan O'Gara could not really complain at the final whistle either.

"The better team won, its hard to accept and extremely disappointing, but it’s about being champions and we were not good enough today,” he said.  

“They deserved their victory, when the game comes to a crunch we weren't up to it.

"I don't think we went missing, it was like a boxing match at times, a game of chess. Owen Farrell did not miss.

"Playing against a defence like that, you want some sun and not the slippy weather that we had. Hopefully we will take some crucial lessons from today.

"Yes we lost key players but we had a Welsh and French international to bring on so there are no excuses."
 
Saracens: Goode; Ashton, D Taylor (Bosch 77), Barritt, Wyles; Farrell (Hodgson 79), Wigglesworth (Spencer 79); M Vunipola (Barrington 76), Brits (George 51), du Plessis (Figallo 67), Itoje (Hamilton 79), Kruis, Rhodes (Wray 55), Fraser, B Vunipola.
 
 
Racing 92: Dulin; Rokocoko, Goosen, Dumoulin (Chavancy 56), Imhoff; Carter (Tales 42), Machenaud (Phillips 21); Ben Arous (Vartanov 76), Szarzewski (Lacombe 65), Tameifuna (Ducalcon 67), Charteris, Van Der Merwe (Carizza 65), Lauret, Le Roux (Claasen 76), Masoe 
 
Scorers
 
Saracens
Penalties: Farrell 7
 
Racing 92
Penalties: Goosen 3  
 
 
Ref: Nigel Owens (Wales).
Attendance: 58,017
 

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