Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Bish, bash, Bosch for Saracens

Marcelo Bosch basked in the gratitude of his team-mates after kicking Saracens into the semi-finals of the Champions Cup in dramatic scenes in north Paris.

Bosch, striking the ball into a strong wind, landed a 55-metre penalty in the final act of the last eight showdown against Racing Metro to snatch a 12-11 victory at the Stade Yves-Du-Manoir.

It completed a scarcely believable win given Saracens had been battered for most of the match only to display remarkable tenacity and set up a semi-final appointment with Clermont in St Etienne in two weeks.

"With kicks like this you're either the hero of the day or the bad guy, so I'm happy that it went my way. I just stayed relaxed and fortunately it went through the posts," Bosch, 31, said.

"Sometimes they ask me if I'm keen to take the long-range kicks and because of the wind it was not a good distance for the other kickers. I said 'why not? I can take it' and the rest is history.

"The last time I did a kick like that was when I was 21 and playing for an amateur club in Argentina. It was from more or less the same range against our classico rivals.

"It was a great memory for me, but it was a long time ago. I tried to be as relaxed as possible because we had the wind in our face and I didn't want to force it.

"It was the last minute of the game so I was tired and tried not to think about what it represented."

Bosch also executed a try-saving tackle on Racing wing Juan Imhoff when all his Argentina team-mate had to do was fall over the line for a potentially decisive final-quarter try.

"Juan is a real player. He's like a striker - always smelling the goal. I followed him and fortunately stopped him from scoring at the end," Bosch said.

Until Bosch delivered the knockout blow - referee Nigel Owens awarded the penalty with 10 seconds left on the clock - a full blooded quarter-final that was often a poor spectacle appeared to be destined for a home win.

Saracens fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicked one penalty and full-back Alex Goode supplied six points to keep the match favourites in sight.

Two second-half penalties from scrum-half Maxime Machenaud, who also crossed for the game's solitary try in the 27th minute, placed Racing in control that the Parisians only relinquished as Owens was preparing to blow for full time.

"I was surprised to see it was Bosch taking it because I though it was in Alex Goode's range," Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said.

"But the wind was very strong, so it was Bosch's range. He had the nerve and balls to say he wanted it, which is half the battle. He hit it pretty sweetly.

"Marcelo is pretty cool. He's pretty laid back, but like anybody, that's one of those kicks that if you miss it can cause the damage.

"I'm very grateful that he held his nerve. He also made the tackle on our goalline that kept us in the match as well.

"We weren't great in the first half even though we had a very strong wind behind us. But that's where it turned around and I'd say our second half performance was as courageous, brave and hard working as I've seen.

"We went hunting and kept knocking them down and scrapped for absolutely everything."

Racing's Wales centre Jamie Roberts was distraught at the outcome.

"I'm hugely frustrated and gutted for the team. We thought we had it in the bag. That last minute cost us so fair play to Marcelo with the kick at the end," Roberts said.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph