Slick Saracens down Ulster

Saracens claimed a 27-9 bonus-point win over Ulster in Belfast on Friday to consolidate top spot in Pool 1 of the European Champions Cup.

Ulster led 9-0 after 25 minutes, courtesy of two penalties and a drop goal by flyhalf Paddy Jackson, but Saracens struck back before the break when wing Chris Wyles burrowed over in the corner to round off a well-worked effort.

Both teams began the second half slowly, before Saracens took the initiative by playing a fast-paced running game.

Sarries centre Duncan Taylor gathered Alex Goode’s chip kick behind the Ulster defence and offloaded back to Goode, who ran a brilliant support line to score. Owen Farrell converted, before setting up their third try when he shrugged off a couple of tackles and then put Taylor away.

The conversion was skewed, but Farrell succeeded with a penalty before making way for Charlie Hodgson.

With time running out and Ulster looking dead on their feet, No 8 Billy Vunipola barged over to secure a vital bonus-point win for the visitors, despite the poor weather conditions.

Ulster – Penalties: Paddy Jackson (2). Drop goal: Jackson.
Saracens – Tries: Chris Wyles, Alex Goode, Duncan Taylor, Billy Vunipola. Conversions: Owen Farrell, Charlie Hodgson. Penalty: Farrell.

Ulster – 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart McCloskey, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Callum Black.
Subs: 16 Kyle McCall, 17 Rob Herring, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Robbie Diack, 20 Roger Wilson, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Ian Humphreys, 23 Peter Nelson.

Saracens – 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Maro Itoje, 4 George Kruis, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 16 Jamie George, 17 Rhys Gill, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Alistair Hargreaves, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Marcelo Bosch.

Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

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Mariette Adams