Owen Farrell contributed 17 points as Saracens crushed Toulouse 32-7 in Saturday’s Champions Cup encounter in London.
Kick-off was delayed with a minute of silence for the victims of the various Paris attacks on Friday night, followed by a touching rendition of the French national anthem by the Toulouse squad. But when the match got underway, it was all Saracens from start to finish.
Given what happened in France a day earlier, it’s understandable that Toulouse might have lost their way a little. But take nothing away from Saracens: they outplayed their visitors in every facet of the game to get their European campaign off to a perfect start.
Farrell knocked over two early penalty goals before prop Maku Vunipola wriggled his way over the line for a converted try that put Sarries 13-0 up in less than 15 minutes.
Toulouse were exposed in the scrums and heavily penalised at the set piece by Irish referee George Clancy. Farrell built his team’s advantage with three more penalties, including a long-range effort from close to the halfway line.
Brimming with confidence, Saracens’ backs featured and two tries by wing Chris Wyles either side of the break resulted in a substantial 32-0 lead.
But, despite their continued dominance, Saracens missed out on a bonus point as they failed to add to their tally in the last 38 minutes.
In the 50th minute, Christopher Tolofua opened Toulouse's account and Sébastien Bézy guided the conversion over the crossbar, but it was scant consolation for the French outfit.
Meanwhile, Munster claimed a 32-7 bonus-point victory over Benetton Treviso at Thomond Park in the only other match played on Saturday. A try apiece by BJ Botha for Munster and Braam Steyn for Treviso saw the teams deadlocked at 7-7, but a penalty by Ian Keatley edged Munster ahead going into the break.
Munster pulled away in the second half, with scores by captain CJ Stander and Duncan Casey, before Simon Zebo breached the Treviso defence in the closing stages to secure the bonus point for Munster. Keatley added two of the last three conversions to wrap up the win.
Saracens – Tries: Mako Vunipola, Chris Wyles (2). Conversion: Owen Farrell. Penalties: Farrell (5).
Toulouse – Try: Christopher Tolofua. Conversion: Sébastien Bézy.
Munster – BJ Botha, CJ Stander, Duncan Casey, Simon Zebo. Conversions: Ian Keatley (3). Penalties: Keatley (2).
Treviso – Try: Braam Steyn. Conversion: Jayden Hayward.
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images