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Scotland star saves the day for 14-man Saracens in Lyon

Saracens Scottish lock Callum Hunter-Hill (C) jumps for the ball during the European Rugby Champions Cup pool A rugby union match between Lyon (LOU) and Saracens Rugby Club at The Matmut Stadium in lyon, central-eastern France on December 17, 2022. (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER CHASSIGNOLE/AFP via Getty Images)

A length-of-the-pitch try finished by Scotland wing Sean Maitland handed Saracens a 28-20 Champions Cup victory over Lyon in France, despite going down to 14 men with replacement prop Alec Clarey sent off for a high tackle.


The Saracens lineout was their saviour, twice stopping Lyon going for victory from five-yard lineouts in the dying minutes. Victory was sealed by an Elliot Daly penalty as the clock ticked past 80 minutes.

These were two sides with very different Champions Cup pedigree, Saracens having won the main European competition three times compared to two match wins for Lyon.

Saracens started like champions in Lyon with plenty of pressure and penalties. One of those resulted in three points for Owen Farrell.

The Saracens pack were beginning to get on top and that confidence meant they chose to go to the corner with their next kickable penalty. An effective drive was brought down by Lyon lock Felix Lambey, which resulted in a yellow card.


Saracens went for the corner again and this time hooker Jamie George was able to score from the drive.

Lyon conceded the first seven penalties of the game as Saracens extended their lead midway through the first half, flanker Ben Earl taking a centre’s angle of run out wide and cantering over the in corner, while Farrell converted.


When the home side were eventually able to string a few phases together they showed plenty of attacking endeavour, after making ground out wide, it came down to the forwards to finish off and loosehead Hamza Kaabeche went over.

The prop would add his side’s second try, but this time standing out in the wide open space on the left wing, finishing a move started by quick thinking from scrum half Baptiste Couilloud.

Lyon started the second half strongly, a high kick from Farrell was regathered by the hosts and his opposite number Fletcher Smith raced 50 yards unopposed for the try. Smith added the conversion himself to put his side ahead.

Saracens struck back from their own line, keeping the ball alive until centre Alex Lozowski found a gap, hooker George supported and then put a kick forward which wing Maitland regathered for the try. Farrell converted and then extended the visitors’ lead with a penalty.


Smith responded with a Lyon penalty to put his side back within one score and then replacement prop Clarey went in high with the shoulder and was sent off after a TMO review, leaving his side a man short for the last 14 minutes.

But Saracens held on and Daly’s penalty denied the home side a losing bonus point.


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