Saracens claim historic Champions Cup win


Owen Farrell produced a kicking masterclass as Saracens won the European Champions Cup for the first time with a 21-9 victory over Racing 92 at Grand Stade de Lyon on Saturday

Sarries were overpowered by Toulon in the final two years ago, but banished those painful memories by becoming the first English side to be crowned European champions since 2007.

Inspirational fly-half Farrell booted all seven penalties, while lock Maro Itoje was outstanding in a try-less match to win another trophy two months after securing the Six Nations Grand Slam with England on French soil.

Top 14 high-flyers Racing suffered major blows when they lost key men Maxime Machenaud in the first half and Dan Carter just after the break and three Johannes Goosen penalties were all they could must in their first European final.

Mark McCall's formidable Saracens side are the first team to go through a European campaign unbeaten and will now turn their attention to retaining their Premiership title to complete a famous double.

Machenaud spurned the chance to give Racing an early lead when his penalty was off target, but Farrell made no mistake in the 10th minute despite the best efforts of a boisterous crowd to put him off after referee Nigel Owens punished Ben Tameifuna at a scrum.

Driving rain made it difficult to piece together flowing moves, so kicking looked like being decisive and Goosen levelled with a mammoth strike from the tee.

Farrell responded after missing a drop-goal and Racing suffered a major blow when Machenaud was unable to return after disappearing down the tunnel for a head injury assessment, with Mike Phillips replacing him.

The Racing fans' boos ringed around the stadium again as Farrell slotted over the simplest of his three penalties to put Sarries 9-3 up.

Carter was unable to influence the game as conditions eased before the break and passed up a simple penalty which Goosen converted, but the brilliant Farrell was on target again to make it 12-6 at half-time.

Legendary former All Black Carter was replaced by Remi Tales early in the second half and Saracens piled on the pressure after losing a blooded Billy Vunipola, with Farrell adding a fifth penalty that Racing felt aggrieved by.

A strapped up Vunipola returned and it was all hands on deck for Saracens when Racing got the bit between their teeth, Goosen cutting the gap to 15-9 with a simple three-pointer after 61 minutes.

But Racing ran out of ideas in the absence of Machenaud and Carter, with the brilliant Farrell adding another two penalties in the last five minutes to put Sarries out of sight.