Saracens keep Champions Cup defence alive, trio book quarter-final spots

By Sports Desk January 11, 2020

Saracens kept their European Champions Cup defence alive despite Rhys Carre's early red card at Ospreys, while Clermont Auvergne, Toulouse and Exeter Chiefs booked quarter-final spots.

Prop Carre was shown a straight red card for a shoulder-led tackle on Dan Evans just four minutes in, but the reigning champions went on to claim a crucial 22-15 triumph at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Fly-half Manu Vunipola was successful with his six efforts from the tee, which consisted of five penalties and the conversion of Alex Lewington's try off Richard Wigglesworth's box kick.

Sarries consequently moved up to second in Pool 4 and three points behind Racing 92, who face Munster on Sunday.

A battling 31-31 draw with Glasgow Warriors was sufficient for Exeter to reach the last eight for just the second time in their history, with only the crossbar denying them the win via a 60-yard Stuart Hogg penalty beyond the 80th minute against his former club.

Tommy Seymour touched down in the opening minute as the Warriors surged into an early 14-3 lead, but Matt Kvesic's double helped ensure the Chiefs got a bonus point and progressed as Pool 2 winners.

Second-half tries from Alivereti Raka and George Moala led Clermont from behind to a 29-13 win at home to Ulster, the Top 14 side taking control of Pool 3.

Toulouse guaranteed a last-eight berth by winning 21-7 at Connacht. Jerome Kaino, Julien Marchand and Pita Ahki cross for the visitors, who were reduced to 13 men in the closing stages when Zack Holmes saw red for a dangerous tackle after Yoann Huget was sent to the sin bin.

Gloucester lost Danny Cipriani to injury after 12 minutes but remained in contention to advance as one of the three best runners-up with a 29-6 bonus-point win against Montpellier.

Ben Morgan, Louis Rees-Zammit and Todd Gleave marked their returns to the starting line-up with tries, the latter coming after Paul Willemse was shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul.

Related items

  • Ireland-Italy Six Nations clash called off amid Coronavirus fears Ireland-Italy Six Nations clash called off amid Coronavirus fears

    Ireland's Six Nations clash with Italy in Dublin has been called off amid fears over the spread of the Coronavirus.

    Andy Farrell's side had been due to host Italy at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday March 7 in their penultimate game of the tournament.

    However, the outbreak of the virus in northern Italy had led to calls for the game to be postponed.

    The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) met with the country's minister for health, Simon Harris, on Tuesday and it was determined the game should not go ahead.

    The matches in the Women's Six Nations and the Under-20 Six Nations have also been postponed.

    An IRFU statement read: "The IRFU had a positive meeting with Minister Harris and his advisors today, where we requested a formal instruction as to the staging of the Ireland v Italy international matches over the weekend of 6/8 March.

    "At the outset we made it clear that the IRFU was supportive of the Governments' need to protect public health in relation to the Coronavirus.

    "We were then advised, formally, that The National Public Health Emergency team has determined that the series of matches should not proceed, in the interests of Public Health.

    "The IRFU is happy to comply with this instruction.

    "We will immediately begin to work with our Six Nations partners to look at the possibility of rescheduling the matches and would hope to have an update on this in the coming days."

    Last weekend saw four football matches in Serie A postponed, including Inter's clash with Sampdoria as part of measures to prevent the spread of the virus in Italy.

    Inter's Europa League meeting with Ludogorets will be contested behind closed doors on Thursday.

    Additionally, this weekend's scheduled Pro14 rugby games between Parma-based club Zebre and Ospreys and Benetton Treviso and Ulster will not go ahead.

    Ireland suffered their first defeat of the tournament as they were beaten 24-12 by England at Twickenham last Sunday. 

    They are four points behind leaders France in the table. Italy have lost each of their three games and appear destined for another wooden spoon.

  • Anthony Watson makes England training squad before Wales game Anthony Watson makes England training squad before Wales game

    Anthony Watson could feature for England for the first time in the 2020 Six Nations after he was named in Eddie Jones' squad for their training camp ahead of next week's clash with Wales.

    Watson is yet to appear in this year's championship due to a calf injury, but head coach Jones suggested after the victory over Ireland that the wing could soon return.

    "Anthony's got to do a running session and if he gets through that we'll get him into camp," Jones said.

    And Watson was subsequently included in a 25-man selection on Wednesday as England reconvene for three days of training in Oxford.

    Mark Wilson has likewise been recalled, while George Furbank is involved for rehabilitation purposes after missing the Ireland game, as apprentice Alex Mitchell also links up.

    However, both Mako Vunipola and Luke Cowan-Dickie were not selected due to family reasons.

    Vunipola had travelled to Tonga ahead of Sunday's clash with Ireland and was not expected back in time to face Wales.

    Cowan-Dickie, who scored England's third try in the 24-12 Twickenham success, had been absent previously in the campaign as his girlfriend gave birth to their son seven weeks early.

    England are still in the mix for the Six Nations title, although they trail Grand Slam-chasing France by four points after three games.

  • Wales to be without injured Adams for rest of Six Nations Wales to be without injured Adams for rest of Six Nations

    Wales have confirmed Josh Adams will need surgery on the ankle injury he suffered against France, ruling the wing out for the rest of the Six Nations.

    Adams was hurt during the 27-23 defeat at the Principality Stadium on Saturday and was replaced by Jarrod Evans in the 66th minute.

    The 24-year-old will undergo surgery to repair the damage this week and is expected to be out for three months, meaning he will miss Wales' remaining two fixtures - against England and Scotland - in March.

    In a short statement on their website, the Welsh Rugby Union said it is "envisaged" Adams, who has scored 14 tries in 24 Test appearances, will be back for the latter stages of the Pro14 season with his club, Cardiff Blues.

    Head coach Wayne Pivac will now wait for an update on another of his wing options in George North, who failed a head injury assessment during the home loss to Les Bleus.

    Pivac has not called up a replacement for Adams ahead of the trip to Twickenham on March 7.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.