Superb Saracens power into Champions Cup final


Saracens exhibited their credentials as England's leading side and stand one win away from continental glory after reaching the European Champions Cup final with a richly deserved 24-17 victory over Wasps at the Madejski Stadium.

The reigning Premiership champions had lost three of their previous four semi-final ties in this competition and were expected to face a stern challenge from an in-form Wasps side boasting attacking talent in abundance.

However, despite falling behind early on Saturday to a Dan Robson try, Saracens largely dominated proceedings thereafter to make the final of Europe's premier club competition for the second time in three years and stay on course for a stunning double.

Wasps immediately showcased their attacking flair and were ahead in the second minute when Christian Wade - the scorer of a record-equalling six tries in last weekend's Premiership win over Worcester Warriors - burst down the right wing before darting inside and finding Robson, who stepped back outside the covering defender to touch down.

Although Saracens had the lion's share of possession and territory for the remainder of the first half, they suffered initial frustration as Farrell pulled a penalty attempt wide prior to Duncan Taylor seeing a try controversially chalked off - referee Romain Poite deeming Chris Ashton guilty of unfair contact with Frank Halai.

However, Michael Rhodes charged down a Jimmy Gopperth kick and collected calmly to get Saracens on the board and, although the conversion was missed, Farrell made no mistake with the simplest of penalties to put his side 8-7 up at half-time.

Saracens' advantage was extended by six points at the start of the second period, Farrell splitting the posts from distance on two occasions after Mako Vunipola and a combination of man-of-the-match Maro Itoje and Will Fraser had won penalties when defending.

Although Farrell was yellow carded in the 51st minute following a sickening clash of heads with Robson, which led to the latter being taken off on a stretcher, Wasps could only muster three points from the resulting Gopperth penalty during their stint with a numerical advantage.

Farrell missed a third kick at goal on his return to the field and Taylor dropped the ball with a try seemingly beckoning, but hopes of a Wasps comeback were hit when Simon McIntyre was yellow carded with 11 minutes remaining for kicking Itoje in the head after the England lock had held on to his foot at a ruck.

Saracens moved seven points clear from the subsequent penalty and victory was effectively sealed when a wonderful rolling maul brought a penalty try that Farrell converted.

Ashley Johnson scored Wasps' second try with four minutes remaining, but Saracens were not to be denied and will face Leicester Tigers or Racing 92 in Lyon next month.