Saracens held off a Toulon fightback to secure a 31-23 win in their Champions Cup opener
Tries from Sean Maitland, Richard Wigglesworth and Chris Wyles put Sarries in control
Levan Chilachava and Bryan Habana crossed as Toulon rallied
Saracens inflicted Toulon’s first-ever home loss in Europe’s top-tier competition as a superb first-half show won a titanic Champions Cup opener.
The visitors were full value for their win, outscoring Toulon by three tries to two, and the victory marks the first time Toulon have lost a European game at home.
On his first game back for the European Champions, Owen Farrell slotted an early penalty to give Saracens an early lead in the South of France.
Sean Maitland then dived over before scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth strolled under the posts as Saracens took control early on.
USA international Chris Wyles rounded off a slick team move to put the reigning champions further ahead just before the break, but Levan Chilachava and Bryan Habana crossed as Toulon rallied in the second half.
Nevertheless, a Farrell penalty denied the hosts even a losing bonus point.
Toulon: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Josua Tuisova, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Francois Trinh Duc, 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6 Charles Ollivon, 5 Mamuka Gorgodze, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Levan Chilachava, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Florian Fresia
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Xavier Chiocci, 18 Manasa Saulo, 19 Liam Gill, 20 Mathieu Bastareaud, 21 Pierre Bernard, 22 Eric Escande, 23 Romain Taofifenua
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 George Kruis, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Petrus du Plessis, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Michael Ellery