It was a performance that will live long in the memory for many Saracens fans, as Mark McCall’s side swept away last season’s finalists Clermont Auvergne 46-6 at Twickenham Stadium.
The scoreline reflected Saracens defensive dominance, as the famed “wolfpack” limited the French side to just six points. Saracens made a total of 234 tackles in the game, also turning over their opponents 10 times whilst limiting Vern Cotter’s team to only five clean breaks during the game.
Going forward Sarries were equally impressive, as the north Londoners made 15 clean breaks, scoring five tries in the process to book their place in the clubs first Heineken Cup final.
Here Henry Fraser takes a look some of the key performers in what was a great team display.
Jacques Burger – His performance has been spoken about and will be spoken about for a while. One thing you can always expect from Jacques is that he put his body into anything without any disregard for his own safety. He made 29 tackled in 70 minutes against Clermont. However it was not just the volume of tackles made but the impact of them. The majority of them were made behind the gain line stopping all of Clermont’s momentum and not allowing any of the big runners to get any front foot ball.
Brad Barritt – It was not a flashy performance from Brad but it was a hugely industrious one that the team needed. He made 6 carries, the 4th highest in the team, one of which was a try assist for Ashton’s first try. Each carry was direct and solid and gave Sarries quick ball to attack from. In defence he made 13 tackles, 5th most in the team. He lead a very fast defensive line and made most of his tackles in midfield not allowing the ball to spread wide to the extremely dangerous wingers. Their attack was nullified and could not go anywhere.
Chris Ashton – All the talk pre match was about Clermont’s giant Fijian wingers but it was Sarries’ own Chris Ashton that made the headlines. No one in the team made a huge number of carries, in fact everyone was in single figures, but Chris was by far the most dangerous and effective. He averaged 13.5 metres per carry, the highest in the team by nearly 4 metres. He scored to excellent tries but also played a big role in two more, Farrell’s and Wyles’ where his breaks resulted in tries two passes later.