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Saracens spat out of Champions Cup by Bordeaux

By PA
Bordeaux' French scrum half Maxime Lucu (R) celebrates after his team's second try during the European Rugby Champions Cup round of 16 rugby union match between Bordeaux-Begles (FRA) and Saracens (ENG) at stade Chaban-Delmas in Bordeaux on April 6, 2024. (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU / AFP) (Photo by ROMAIN PERROCHEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Saracens bowed out of this year’s Investec Champions Cup despite a brave defensive performance for an hour in a 45-12 defeat at Bordeaux.

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Once the victory was assured for Bordeaux they ran riot, scoring six tries in all, to set up a home quarter-final against Harlequins next week.

The French side were denied no fewer than five first-half tries by TMO and assistant referee decisions, but outside half Mateo Garcia scored two tries either side of the half-time interval to settle his side’s nerves.

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Stormers Director of Rugby John Dobson previews the European Cup face-off with Stade Rochelais

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Stormers Director of Rugby John Dobson previews the European Cup face-off with Stade Rochelais

Both sides were without key men at outside half, Owen Farrell for Saracens and Matthieu Jalibert for Bordeaux.

Bordeaux also had the confidence of putting 55 points on their English opponents in the group stages, showing their early threat with wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey and prop Ben Tameifuna both coming within inches of scoring tries.

Bielle-Biarrey ran out of space following a kick, while Tameifuna could not quite ground the ball over the line, a forward pass by Damian Penaud meant a third effort was also called back after full back Romain Buros had crossed the line.

Fixture
Investec Champions Cup
Bordeaux
45 - 12
Full-time
Saracens
All Stats and Data

That meant Saracens were the bounce of a ball away from opening the scoring when an Alex Goode grubber evaded wing Alex Lewington, before Bordeaux were again denied by the TMO, who adjudged crossing had provided space for Bielle-Biarrey to go over.

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It all meant it took around half-an-hour to open the scoring, Maxime Lucu taking a simple penalty chance following a Saracens offside, before another TMO decision prevented a Bordeaux try from the kick off.

The visitors lost lock Maro Itoje for 10 minutes following a deliberate knock on and that allowed Bordeaux to register their first counting try of the game, Buros making the break out wide and outside half Garcia picking up and finishing off.

Goode had the chance to whittle down that lead with a penalty at the start of the second half, but he hit the outside of the post from 40 yards.

Points Flow Chart

Bordeaux win +33
Time in lead
52
Mins in lead
0
65%
% Of Game In Lead
0%
24%
Possession Last 10 min
76%
7
Points Last 10 min
12

Instead the breaks suddenly went the way of Bordeaux, number eight Tevita Tatafu managing to keep the ball alive before going to touch, the ball ricocheting off the knee of defender Ben Earl and being touched down over the line by Garcia.

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Bordeaux snuffed out any remaining hope for the visitors as scrum power put Saracens on the back foot, allowing Garcia and right wing Damian Penaud to combine to put centre Nicolas Depoortere under the posts.

Bielle-Biarrey soon added a fourth from a loose ball bouncing off the head of centre Yoram Moefana, Lucu maintaining his perfect kicking record.

With the result in the bag Depoortere added his second from a slick tap penalty move, before Lewington grabbed a consolation try for the English team.

Bielle-Biarrey added his second to rub salt in the Saracens wounds, Tom Willis responding for the away side but it was too little too late.

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