Chris Ashton emotional after helping Saracens taste more European glory

Rachel Hardy
May 14, 2017

However, despite the defeat McCall was quick to defend his team selection and is hopeful that it will prove to be vindicated when they take on Clermont Auvergne in the Champions Cup final on Saturday (5pm).

The London club led 12-0 after two early tries and looked in control but Clermont fought back to ensure there was only a point in it going into the last 10 minutes.

Victory left Londoners Saracens, also the reigning English champions, just two matches away from completing the "double Double" as they became the fourth team to win back-to-back European Cup titles, after Leicester, Leinster and Toulon.

Saracens lift the trophy after winning the European Champions Cup Final against Clermont Auvergne at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland, Saturday May 13, 2017.

Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall: "It does not take much to lose a game at this level when you have two good teams playing against each other and semi-finals and finals can be really close".

Chris Ashton, in his final European appearance with Saracens before joining Clermont's French rivals Toulon, opened the scoring with a record-breaking 37th tournament try. Against Leinster, they kicked out of hands 19 times - compared to Saracens 34 times against Munster in their semi-final.

"It's massively disappointing", said fullback Scott Spedding.

Saracens flanker Michael Rhodes secured line-out ball which found its way to Farrell, looping round.

That set up a tense final quarter-hour but it was Saracens who emerged on top as Goode got the decisive score, making the most of Marcelo Bosch's decoy run to speed over in the corner.

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Farrell is the kicker the rest of European rugby fears and his boot will be the best way for Sarries to keep Clermont in check tomorrow.

Billy Vunipola, a wrecking ball all game, threatened from a five-metre scrum but was bravely bundled into touch by a combination of Abendanon and Morgan Parra.

A win for the English side would also see them create history by setting a new record for the number of unbeaten games in the Champions Cup at 18, they're now tied with the Leinster team that avoided defeat between 2010 and 2012.

"A big lesson we learnt previous year was at the culmination of the season - you have this euphoria for two days and then it dissipates and dies down and you start thinking towards next season".

Clermont Auvergne: S Spedding; D Strettle, A Rougerie, R Lamerat, N Abendanon; C Lopez, M Parra; R Chaume, B Kayser, D Zirakashvili, A Iturria, S Vahaamahina, D Chouly (capt), P Yato, F Lee.

"The strength of the group is that we are constantly looking to improve and get better and we never feel like we are the finished article".

England global Billy Vunipola added: "It's such an incredible group of guys".

"We did a lot of very good things, but couldn't quite get over their line".

And if they can extend that unbelievable run through next Saturday's Premiership play-off semi-final away to Exeter Chiefs, and the final at Twickenham on 27 May, the London club will emulate Leicester Tigers in 2001 and 2002 by completing the "double double" of English league and European Cup. "It's not a nice feeling, but I'm assured we'll be there or thereabouts next year and we've got to hope next year is going to be our year".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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