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Saracens salvage pride in Paris snow

17 Dec 2010
Saracens salvage pride in Paris snow

Saracens restored some pride in their European campaign with a creditable Heineken Cup win in Paris.

The Watford-based club had lost all three matches in Pool Two heading into the game and have no realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages. But Owen Farrell was the key man as they took a 16-0 lead into half-time, kicking two penalties, a drop goal and a conversion while also setting up Brad Barritt's try. A second-half fightback saw Racing nearly overhaul that lead but the English side were able to hold on.

Racing, who won the reverse fixture 24-21 at Vicarage Road last weekend, suffered a blow before the match when sickness hit the squad, with captain Sebastian Chabal among those missing. There were doubts whether the game would go ahead with snow falling and temperatures dropping, but the ground staff were able to make the pitch just about playable at the Stade Olympique Yves du Manoir.

Saracens started brightly and immediately won a penalty, only for fly-half Farrell to hit the inside of the post. They won a subsequent scrum from a Racing knock-on and when the hosts were caught offside at the breakdown, Farrell slotted the fourth-minute penalty.

Racing regrouped and threatened but Saracens capitalised on some scrappy play as 19-year-old Farrell produced a clever drop goal. David Strettle crossed in the 20th minute after some intricate interplay down the right, but the television match official ruled his foot was in touch.

Sarries finally got their deserved try when Barritt forced his way over in the 35th minute. Farrell was the creator as he capitalised on more amateurish Racing play to set up Barritt to cross, before adding the extras to make it 13-0. The visitors' night got even better as Farrell was given another penalty on a plate to take it to 16-0 at the break.

Racing clawed their way back into in the 47th minutes as Farrell was caught in possession, Neil De Kock's clearance was charged down and Mirco Bergamasco was able to cross. Jonathan Wisniewski converted well from wide on the left to make it 16-7.

The visitors' lead withered away further minutes later as Racing took a quick penalty and Nicolas Durand went over. Wisniewski converted to reduce the gap to two points. The French side had the bit between their teeth but were unable to bridge the gap and Farrell's last-minute penalty wrapped up the win, though his side remain rooted to the bottom of the standings.

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