Spedding extends Sarries losing streak, Wasps halt La Rochelle
A mammoth late penalty from Scott Spedding snatched a 24-21 win for Clermont Auvergne to extend Saracens’ losing streak to seven matches, and Elliot Daly starred as Wasps ended La Rochelle’s 100 per cent European Champions Cup record.
Injury-hit Sarries were subjected to a 46-14 mauling by the Top 14 champions in a Pool 2 clash rearranged for Monday due to snow, but looked much more like the side that has won back-to-back Champions Cup titles at a raucous Stade Marcel-Michelin on Sunday.
A superb early Ben Spencer solo try and eight points from the boot of Owen Farrell gave fired-up Sarries a 13-0 lead inside 10 minutes, but three Morgan Parra penalties and one from Spedding reduced the deficit to just a point at half-time.
Another two successful Parra kicks from the tee made it advantage Clermont, who lost wing Alivereti Raka – scorer of a quickfire hat-trick at Allianz Park six days earlier – and France centre Damian Penaud to injury in the first half.
There were howls of derision from the Clermont faithful when Nick Abendanon was shown a yellow card for taking a man out in the air after another penalty from Farrell, who then fed Alex Lozowski to put Sarries 21-18 to the good 17 minutes from time.
Farrell failed to convert as whistles reverberated around the stadium and Parra levelled a classic contest with Juan Figallo in the bin, Spedding providing the final twist by stepping up to hold his nerve under pressure to put Clermont seven points clear of Sarries.
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) December 17, 2017
Ospreys moved above the holders into second spot with a 32-15 bonus-point win in Northampton Saints’ first match since director of rugby Jim Mallinder’s sacking, Rhys Webb claiming a double at the Liberty Stadium.
Top 14 leaders La Rochelle remain top of Pool 1, but Wasps breathed new life into their bid to qualify for the quarter-finals with a 21-3 success at the Ricoh Arena inspired by Daly.
The versatile England international scored a try in each half before limping off and Tom Cruse also barged his way over in a richly deserved victory which put Wasps five points behind their opponents, who hammered the Premiership side 49-29 last weekend.
Ian Keatley booted 20 points and CJ Stander scored a second-half try to give Munster a 25-16 win to go four points clear at the top of a tight Pool 4, their first success at Leicester Tigers in 11 years spoiling Manu Tuilagi’s comeback and leaving the Premiership side facing elimination.
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