Monday, 10 December, 2018

Barritt and Vunipola looking forward to celebrating Saracens' Champions Cup win

Damian Penaud Damian Penaud scored twice for Clemront in their win over La Rochelle
Frederick Owens | 14 May, 2017, 02:59

Get a full report and reaction.

But while the final celebrations sparked wild celebrations among his team-mates, the 30-year-old was left in a reflective mood.

Mark McCall's men looked set to romp to victory when they ran in early tries from Chris Ashton and George Kruis. However, full-back Goode's touchdown seven minutes from time ensured it was Saracens who retained their title.

"It's nice for my name to be up there but a lot of the credit belongs to this club".

I would love Clermont to do it - they have played some of the best rugby that I have been covering in the Top 14 but that does not matter and I think the pragmatism of Saracens will come through - you don't have to love the way they play but you have to admire the way they get the job done.

The French side have built their success this term on starting with a rapid tempo but they found themselves having to cling on as Saracens darted out the blocks.

The only surprise was it took the Londoners 13 minutes to make their breakthrough.

However, Clermont were not prepared to lie down and hit back with their first real period of possession on 27 minutes. This time, Farrell did convert.

"We are nowhere near the finished article, we still have a long way to go, but as players we pride ourselves on being able to stay in the fight the whole game".

Billy Vunipola, a wrecking ball all game, threatened from a five-metre scrum but was bravely bundled into touch by a combination of Abendanon and Morgan Parra. ASM Clermont Auvergne's Camille Lopez, Leinster Rugby's Garry Ringrose and Munster Rugby's CJ Stander were also nominated.

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But Barritt is confident his side have the ability to last the pace against the French side, who are renowned for making fast starts.

Clermont: S Spedding; D Strettle, A Rougerie, R Lamerat, N Abendanon; C Lopez, M Parra; R Chaume, B Kayser, D Zirakashvili, A Iturria, S Vahaamahina, D Chouly (capt), P Yato, F Lee.

Ashton needed one try to set a new competition record of 37 but at the moment he contemplated how exaggerated his dive over the line should be, his marker, Nick Abendanon, who had not initially tracked the run, swept along the five-metre line and prevented the holders from making the ideal start.

Parra's conversion brought Clermont to within a point of Sarries before he exchanged successful penalties with Farrell.

But as coaches analysing Clermont, it just seems that they have something more about them and their team spirit is fantastic.

Farrell's conversion effectively sealed victory but he got the party started early two minutes from time with another straight-forward penalty.

"I felt after they scored their try that this wasn't a game we deserved to lose".

"It's a special feeling to be part of this group". He was a loser with Saracens in the 2014 final against RC Toulon and is looking to break his European duck in the Scottish capital.

England global Billy Vunipola added: "It's such an incredible group of guys". But I'm sorry, Billy, the way that this team is going, the us-against-the-world psychology may soon cease to work. When they line up to face Exeter in English Premiership semi-finals next week, seeking another double, they will be as prepared and ready to go as they were at Murrayfield on Saturday, and as they will be again from the first game of next season to the last.

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