MATCH REPORT | Edinburgh Rugby 20-14 Saracens Men
Saracens Men suffered defeat in their final pool match of the Heineken Champions Cup as they were beaten 20-14 by Edinburgh Rugby at the DAM Health Stadium.
The Men in Black, who got three yellow cards were up against it from the off and had to settle for a losing bonus point which earns them a home tie against the Ospreys in the Last 16.
It was the hosts that made the fast start and they went in front with just four minutes on the clock. A penalty was kicked deep in to the 22, and then after going through the phases eventually David Cherry carried over from close range. Blair Kinghorn’s conversion was quickly followed by a penalty as the Scottish side raced in to a 10-0 lead.
Elliot Daly had the first chance of the night for Sarries when he gathered a high ball and broke through the tackle, but just as he looked to dink in behind the kick didn’t go to plan and Edinburgh managed to gather.
They were starting to build in to the game, and Alex Goode’s penalty with 17 minutes on the clock got them on the board midway through the first half.
Jamie George was then sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle, but luckily from the resulting penalty Kinghorn’s effort went wide in the wind to keep the deficit at seven points.
Marco Riccioni was also shown the same colour card for a high shot from referee Ludovic Cayre, and Sarries were down to 13 which gave Edinburgh the prime opportunity to extend their lead before the break.
Jamie Ritchie thought he had done so with a strong carry over the line, but he knocked the ball on in the process of scoring and the Londoners survived. Then came a crucial moment as a heroic turnover gave Sarries some much needed possession after being up against it for the majority of the first half.
Two more penalties followed at scrum time to huge cheers from the bench, and Goode made no mistake from 30 metres out to send his side down the tunnel trailing 10-6 at the break.
Kinghorn kicked a penalty just three minutes after the restart to edge Edinburgh seven in front, but Goode cancelled it out with his third of the evening as it remained a four point game with half an hour to play.
The game then threatened to open up when Ivan van Zyl almost intercepted, and then Alex Lozowski’s sublime 50:22 gave Sarries some crucial territory.
Maro Itoje became the third Saracen to be sin-binned when he was pinged inside our 22, and Edinburgh capitalised straight away as Pierre Schoeman bundled over from the rolling maul to give them some breathing space. The conversion gave them an 11 point cushion as we headed in to the final quarter.
Ill-discipline was continuing to cost Sarries, who gave away another kickable penalty with 15 minutes left, but thankfully Kinghorn’s effort was just short.
Sam Skinner was then yellow-carded with Sarries applying the pressure, but to add to the frustration they were caught crossing from the maul and allowed the hosts to escape.
Sarries did get back in to the game though with five minutes to go as Ben Earl raced over the line from 20 metres out. Eroni Mawi’s brilliant carry and pass drew in the final defender to set up a grandstand finish in the Scottish capital.
A scrum gave the visitors one last chance, but Edinburgh got the penalty and confirmed the win in the closing seconds of the match.