Champions Cup Pool 3: Saracens 10-3 Toulon, Sale 25-23 Scarlets
Pool 3 of the Champions Cup concluded on Saturday with Saracens finishing top after beating Toulon 10-3 at Allianz Park.
Meanwhile, Sale overcame Welsh region Scarlets 25-23 at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Saracens 10-3 Toulon: Ashton’s try propels Sarries to victory
Saracens secured their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup with a hard-fought 10-3 win over Toulon at Allianz Park on Saturday.
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) January 21, 2017
The reigning champions, who were already assured of a last-eight spot, finished top of Pool 3 with 23 points, which was enough to secure a home tie in the quarter-finals.
Nevertheless, the hosts were under the cosh early on but Toulon wasted a couple of opportunities, meaning it was still 0-0 with half an hour played.
Saracens captain Owen Farrell eventually opened the scoring after Duane Vermeulen was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on him.
The fly-half got up, dusted himself off, and slotted the first points of the game from the kicking tee after 32 minutes, which proved to be the only score of the first half, 3-0.
— BT Sport Rugby (@btsportrugby) January 21, 2017
Chris Ashton scored the only try of the game midway through the second half with Farrell converting to give the hosts a 10-0 lead.
Leigh Halfpenny nailed a monster penalty 13 minutes from time to get his side a losing bonus point, which is just enough to keep the French glamour club in the mix for the quarter-finals.
Saracens: 15 Alex Lozowksi, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Jamie George, 1 Richard Barrington
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Tim Streather, 23 Nathan Earle
Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Matt Giteau, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Mamuka Gorgodze, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Laurent DelBoulbes
Replacements: 16 Jean Charles Orioli, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Marcel Van der Merwe, 19 Liam Gill, 20 Jocelino Suta, 21 Pierre Bernard, 22 Jonathan Pelissie, 23 Samu Manoa
Sale Sharks 25-23 Scarlets: Late MacGinty penalty steals a 2-point victory for the Sharks
Sale ended a run of 10 successive defeats with an entertaining victory over Scarlets at the AJ Bell Stadium.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) January 21, 2017
Neither side could progress to the next phase of the competition, but tries from Paulo Odogwu and Will Addison established an early 16-0 lead for the hosts.
However, Scarlets rallied just before the break with DTH van der Merwe’s try bringing the Welsh region back into the match heading into the second-half, 16-10.
A penalty try gave the Scarlets hope after the restart but AJ MacGinty’s fifth penalty kept them at bay and secured Sale a first Champions Cup victory of the season.