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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 24 October 2020
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Munster to face impressive Saracens in Dublin in Champions Cup semi-final

Mark McCall’s men overcame Glasgow in their quarter-final at Allianz Park this afternoon.

Saracens 38

Glasgow 13

MUNSTER WILL WELCOME defending champions Saracens to Dublin for the Champions Cup semi-finals on 22/23 April, after the Premiership side impressively overcame Glasgow Warriors in this afternoon’s quarter-final at Allianz Park.

Mark McCall’s men were composed, skillful and aggressive in victory, controlling the game for most of the 80 minutes.

pjimage Munster will meet Saracens in the semi-finals. Source: INPHO

Man of the match Owen Farrell was central to many of Sarries’ best attacking passages, as their multi-layered and decoy-heavy patterns proved to be too sharp for the Scottish visitors in front of a 15,000 crowd in sun-drenched Hendon.

Although the Premiership outfit missed a handful of chances, Chris Ashton [2], Marcelo Bosch and Brad Barritt scored the four tries for Saracens, who will bring confidence into their visit to the Aviva Stadium to take on Rassie Erasmus’ Munster.

Saracens will certainly be a major improvement on the southern province’s opposition yesterday, posing a far more disciplined, accurate, intelligent and fit threat than Toulouse offered in Thomond Park.

But Munster are hopeful of having key men Conor Murray, CJ Stander, Keith Earls and Peter O’Mahony fit in time for the semi-final and they will bring a fiery, confrontational mindset into their first meeting with Saracens since being dismantled at Allianz Park on a 33-10 scoreline in 2015.

The Dublin semi-final promises to be a thriller.

Saracens led 14-3 at the half-time break against Glasgow, although that advantage could have been greater but for two early near misses as Ashton and Sean Maitland had possible tries ruled out in either corner.

Ryan Wilson and Owen Farrell have a tussle Owen Farrell tussles with Ryan Wilson. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Farrell kicked three of his four penalty shots at goal, with Finn Russell firing over one for the Warriors, and Ashton did get over wide on the right in the 32nd minute, finishing superbly after a sharp offload from Barritt.

Glasgow were clinging on, in truth, with the 11th-minute loss of the influential Jonny Gray to a head injury not aiding their cause, and Saracens controlled the territory and breakdown for the vast majority of the second half.

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The Scots finally got some possession inside the Saracens 22 in the 48th minute and a clever cross-field kick from Russell was gathered in by left wing Lee Jones, who fended Ashton far too easily on his way to crossing for an unconverted try.

Suddenly, momentum was on Glasgow’s side but Russell missed a penalty kick to touch – his second such error – and Saracens reacted well.

Schalk Brits made an impact off the bench, first breaking the Glasgow defence on kick return and then offloading to Bosch for the Argentinian centre to break three week Warriors tackles to score, with Farrell converting.

Lee Jones beats Chris Ashton to run in a try as Stuart Hogg celebrates Lee Jones scores for Glasgow. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Saracens put their progress into the semi-final beyond all doubt in the 72nd minute as Barritt finished wide on the left from Ashton’s pass.

The Toulon-bound wing then completed the Saracens try-scoring with his second excellent finish in the 78th minute, bringing Ashton level with Vincent Clerc as the all-time top try-scorer in the Champions Cup on 36.

The Warriors notched a last-minute consolation try through Ryan Wilson, but this was a dominant display from Saracens.

Saracens scorers: 

Tries: Chris Ashton [2], Marcelo Bosch, Brad Barritt

Conversions: Owen Farrell [3 from 4]

Penalties: Owen Farrell [4 from 5]

Glasgow scorers:

Tries: Lee Jones, Ryan Wilson

Conversions: Finn Russell [0 from 2]

Penalties: Finn Russell [1 from 1]

SARACENS: Alex Goode; Chris Ashton, Marcelo Bosch (Duncan Taylor ’60), Brad Barritt, Sean Maitland; Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth (Neil de Kock ’75); Mako Vunipola (Titi Lamositele ’72), Jamie George (Schalk Brits ’55), Juan Figallo (Vincent Koch ’28); Maro Itoje, Jim Hamilton (Joel Conlon ’72); Michael Rhodes, Jackson Wray, Billy Vunipola (Kelly Brown  ’75).

GLASGOW WARRIORS: Stuart Hogg (Rory Hughes ’75); Tommy Seymour, Alex Dunbar, Peter Horne (Nick Grigg ’57), Lee Jones; Finn Russell, Henry Pyrgos (Ali Price ’51); Gordon Reid (Alex Allan ’60), Fraser Brown (Corey Flynn ’60), Zander Fagerson (Sila Puafisi ’38); Brian Alainu’uese, Jonny Gray (Greg Peterson ’11 (Chris Fusaro ’72)); Robert Harley, Ryan Wilson, Adam Ashe.

Referee: Jerome Garces [FFR].

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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