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Saracens hold on for victory

Saracens restored some pride in their disappointing European campaign with a creditable 19-14 Heineken Cup win over Racing Metro in Paris.

The Watford-based club had lost all three matches in Pool Two heading into tonight's match and have no realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages. But Owen Farrell was the key man as they took a 16-0 lead into half-time, kicking two penalties, a drop goal and a conversion while also setting up Brad Barritt's try.

A second-half fightback saw Racing nearly overhaul that lead but the English side were able to hold on.

Racing, who won the reverse fixture 24-21 at Vicarage Road last weekend, suffered a blow before the match when sickness hit the squad, with captain Sebastian Chabal among those missing.

On a pitch that was just about playable, Saracens started brightly and when they won a scrum from a Racing knock-on, the hosts were caught offside at the breakdown, with Farrell slotted the fourth-minute penalty.

Racing regrouped and threatened but Saracens capitalised on some scrappy play as 19-year-old Farrell produced a clever drop goal.

Sarries got their deserved try when Barritt forced his way over in the 35th minute. Farrell was the creator as he capitalised on more amateurish Racing play to set up Barritt to cross, before adding the extras to make it 13-0.

The visitors' night got even better as Farrell was given another penalty on a plate to take it to 16-0 at the break, however, Racing clawed their way back into in the 47th minutes as Farrell was caught in possession, Neil De Kock's clearance was charged down and Mirco Bergamasco was able to cross.

Jonathan Wisniewski converted well from wide on the left to make it 16-7. The visitors' lead withered away further minutes later as Racing took a quick penalty and Nicolas Durand went over. Wisniewski converted to reduce the gap to two points.

The French side had the bit between their teeth but were unable to bridge the gap and Farrell's last-minute penalty wrapped up the win, though his side remain rooted to the bottom of the standings.


From Belfast Telegraph