Nov 14, 2015
Saracens defeat Toulouse in Champions Cup opener
Two Chris Wyles tries and mercurial performance from outside half Owen Farrell saw Saracens beat Toulouse 32-7 in round one of the European Champions Cup at Allianz Park.
On an emotional evening, Saracens and Stade Toulousain would join each other in paying tribute to the loss of life in the shocking Paris attacks on Friday evening. Both teams observed an impeccable minute silence before La Marseilles rung around north London in a moment of poignancy and reflection.
On the night, Chris Wyles continued his fine European form to cross for two well-taken scores after Mako Vunipola opened the scoring for the Men in Black. Owen Farrell would finish the game with a personal tally of 17 points and was a constant thorn in the Toulouse side all evening.
After the tributes the game would get under way and Saracens flew out of the traps in the opening ten minutes. Installed as captain for the game, Brad Barritt looked to want to take the whole Toulouse side on himself with the England centre in inspired form. Inside Barritt was his England teammate Owen Farrell, who was equally impressive during the game.
After two quick-fire Farrell penalties, one for a Toulouse offside, and another won by the in-form openside Will Fraser at the breakdown, Saracens quickly stamped their authority on the game when Mako Vunipola crossed for first try of the evening. Farrell converted to give Saracens a 13-points to nil lead of the French powerhouses after just 15 minutes of play.
Sarries were in complete control. Toulouse looked like a side who had endured a tumultuous preparation to the game. Again they were penalised for offside at the ruck, and once again Owen Farrell would punish them. The Saracens outside half was controlling the game and the scoreboard, as he sent over a 46-metre penalty to extend Sarries lead to 16-0, and then minutes later a routine kick to extend the Men in Blacks lead to 19-0.
Toulouse’s woes were compounded when former Sarries tighthead Census Johnston was yellow carded as Referee George Clancy finally lost patience with the French side’s indiscipline. Farrell added another three points soon after before the home side crossed for the second score.
Turning over Toulouse in their own half, some fine ‘heads-up-rugby’ from Jamie George and Owen Farrell quickly manufactured an overlap.
Brad Barritt fired a great pass to Alex Goode, Goode drew the defender to feed Chris Wyles who finished with typical aplomb in the corner. Farrell missed the extras but Sarries were leading 27-0 with half-time fast approaching.
Saracens picked up from where they left off in the second half. It took one minute for Chris Wyles to double his tally for the evening as he wrestled his way over to score with some help from Owen Farrell in the process.
Toulouse though would hit back. Replacement hooker Christian Tolofua would once again score against Saracens, with his previous try against the Men in Black at Wembley Stadium in October 2013.
Sarries continued to hunt that all-important bonus point try yet Toulouse would frustrate the English champions. Saracens ended the game 32-7 winners as they head to Ravenhill, Belfast with a fine three try win under their belts.