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MATCH REPORT | Bordeaux-Begles 45-12 Saracens Men

06.04.24
In association with
City Index City Index
Rep1

Saracens Men had their hopes of a fourth Investec Champions Cup title ended as they were beaten 45-12 by a relentless Bordeaux-Begles in South West France.

At a bouncing Stade Chaban Delmas, the hosts scored six tries in front of their raucous home fans to book their place in the Last Eight at the expense of the Men in Black.

Sarries started brightly and a strong carry from Billy Vunipola at the base of a scrum put the visitors on the front foot but his kick ahead was charged down.

Bordeaux then sent a warning sign when Maxime Lucu broke the line and kicked ahead, but the ball trickled out despite the best efforts of Louis Bielle-Bierrey to chase it down.

They then had another huge chance when Ben Tameifuna carried from close range, but some incredible defensive work from Alex Lewington and Elliot Daly held him up and forced him to knock the ball on.

It then looked like Bordeaux might be in again when Bielle-Bierrey broke down the left aand released Romain Buros, but fortunately for the Londoners the pass was deemed forward.

Sarries, who were growing in confidence after some strong defensive sets then started to land some blows themselves in a tense opening quarter.

Lewington’s brilliant 50:22 gave them some good field position, and then Alex Goode’s lovely grubber nearly popped up for the winger but it trickled in to touch.

The hosts then had another try disallowed as the crowd got even more frustrated. Damien Penaud  ran across the field and put Bielle-Bierrey away in the corner, but after a check with the TMO it was chalked off for crossing.

Bordeaux refused to take their foot off the throat but Sarries continued to repel their attacks, this time it was Mako Vunipola with a phenomenal tackle to dislodge the ball when it was just one metre from the line.

They did eventually get some points on the board, a penalty from Lucu gave them a 3-0 advantage with 30 minutes played.

Nicolas Deportere was next to have a try disallowed, the fourth Bordeaux score of the first half to not count. This time the centre thought he was through, but a knock on in the build up meant the brilliant pocket of Sarries fans could cheer.

Maro Itoje was sent to the sin-bin five minutes before half time for a deliberate knock on, and the extra man counted straight away as Mateo Garcia was able to dot down in the corner from a breakdown to give them some breathing space, and Lucu’s conversion put them 10-0 ahead which is how it stayed until the break.

Sarries meant business in the early stages of the second half, a dominant turnover from Nick Tompkins got them on the front foot but unfortunately Alex Goode’s penalty attempt came back off the post.

However the challenge got much tougher five minutes later as Tevita Tatafu’s offload fell perfectly for Garcia who could dot down and send the home fans wild. Lucu added the extras to extend the lead to 17 points.

Sarries then had a huge chance on the hour to bring themselves back in to proceedings, but unfortunately a lovely pass from Goode popped out of Lewington’s grasp and the hosts got the put in.

The result was then put beyond doubt on the hour mark as the Bordeaux attack once again clicked with two tries in as many minutes to take them clear.

For the first a brilliant Penaud break but Nicolas Depoortere through under the posts, and then just a minute later Bielle-Bierrey took advantage of a loose ball and raced clear from 45 metres out. Lucu converted both, and now all of a sudden the hosts had a 31-0 lead.

It got better for Bordeaux with 10 minutes to go, Depoortere went over from close range for his second as they once again took their chance when it arrived.

Sarries did get a deserved score in the closing stages, Lucio Cinti’s wide pass to Lewington set him free in the corner to get the Londoners on the board.

There was still time for another score from Bielle-Bierrey who once again took advantage of the space in front of him, however Sarries had the final say as Tom Willis hammered over against his former side to score with the final play of the game.

That signalled the end of the Investec Champions Cup journey for 2023/24, and now all attention will turn to the Gallagher Premiership.

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