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MATCH REPORT | Saracens Men 30-26 Edinburgh Rugby

11.12.22
In association with
City Index City Index
Untitled Design 58

Saracens’ long awaited return to the Heineken Champions Cup ended in success as they secured a hard-fought 30-26 bonus-point win over a resilient Edinburgh at StoneX Stadium. 

The Scottish side had large spells of possession and territory but the clinical hosts took their chances with Elliot Daly, Ben Earl, Alex Lewington and Tom Woolstencroft all crossing the line to grind out a crucial victory to start their campaign in style. 

On a freezing cold day, Sarries started like a house on fire and almost opened the scoring inside the first minute. After receiving the kick off instead of kicking they spotted some space on the short side and Sean Maitland took play all the way up to the other 22. The ball then went to the right but unfortunately the ball just went forward with the line at their mercy. 

However despite the positive start, it was Edinburgh who struck first with their first opportunity of the game. A strong carry from Duhan van der Merwe took them to within striking distance, and then Luan de Bruin powered over from close range to put the visitors in front. Emiliano Boffelli’s conversion gave them a 7-0 lead with as many minutes on the clock. 

The Scottish side were on the front foot and almost got a stunning second as Wes Goosen gathered an up and under and raced away, but a brilliant counter attack from the Londoners got a much needed turnover. 

That seemed to galvanise the hosts who got themselves level with a brilliant try from Daly. Owen Farrell’s cross field kick went straight to the full-back, and he stepped his way past the final defender to dive over in the corner. The skipper’s excellent conversion from the touchline made it 7-7 with 15 minutes played. 

Farrell then had a penalty attempt which pulled just to the right of the sticks, but his side were starting to dominate up front with three consecutive scrum penalties. 

One was kicked to the corner with a great opportunity from the line out, however the hosts were pinged for obstruction and Edinburgh cleared. 

A high tackle then gave the visitors the chance to go in front and Boffelli made no mistake from 45 metres out to give them the lead, and that was quickly extended to 13-7 as another penalty from the Argentinian gave them a six point advantage as we headed towards the break. 

Sarries struck with just two minutes to go in the first half though to bring StoneX well and truly back to life. A penalty was kicked to the corner, and then a move straight off the training ground saw the lineout avoid the maul and end up in the hands of Earl who bundled over from close range. The conversion came back off the post, cutting the deficit to just a point.

There was still time for one more penalty for Edinburgh though, with Boffelli was successful with to ensure they headed down the tunnel with a 16-12 lead. 

Sarries began the second half with far greater intensity and took just four minutes to go in front as Lewington scored to the delight of those in front of him in the North Stand. 

Billy Vunipola bulldozed his way in to the 22, and then Daly’s cute grubber bounced up perfectly for Lewington who finished from close range. The conversion went wide, but the hosts were now ahead for the first time in the match. 

Edinburgh then enjoyed a spell of possession and were rewarded with a fourth penalty for Boffelli, which from right in front of the posts put them 19-17 ahead with 30 minutes remaining. 

Yet another scrum penalty for the hosts then gave Farrell a shot at goal from 40 metres, and this time he made no mistake to give Sarries a one point lead on the hour mark. 

Ivan van Zyl was then impeded with his opposite number offside, gifting the captain another shot which he was successful with, as the lead grew to 23-19. 

A crucial moment then followed as Farrell’s pass was intercepted by Damien Hoyland who went the length of the field but a simply sensational defensive set saw Nick Tompkins combine with Farrell to hold up James Lang over the line for what looked like a certain try. 

Then from the goal-line drop-out a brilliant counter-ruck from Woolstencroft got the ball back, and a ling kick ahead gave the Men in Black some much needed territory. 

That territory turned in to a bonus point try as the lineout was stolen, and after a number of the phases the returning Woolstencrot marked his comeback with a crucial try. In the process Stuart McInally was sent to the sin-bin, and Farrell’s conversion meant the lead was now 30-19. 

Just when it looked as if Sarries had the game sewn up, Edinburgh responded with their second to get right back in the match. Blair Kinghorn was put through a gap, and then he played in Wes Goosen who stepped his way over with just eight minutes left. Boffelli’s extras made it a four point game with the clock rapidly ticking. 

WP Nel then got another yellow for Edinburgh after a tip tackle, and that allowed Sarries to see out the final few minutes, rewarding their terrific supporters for braving the freezing conditions to kick the ball out for a brilliant victory. 

Nextup

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