16 December 2023
~2 minutes read
Saracens defeat Connacht in high scoring Champions Cup game
Tries from Bundee Aki, Caolin Blade, JJ Hanrahan, Joe Joyce, and Cian Prendergast helped Connacht to a try-scoring bonus point at the StoneX Stadium in London this afternoon, but that was as good as it got for Pete Wilkins’ side, as Saracens dominated the period just before and after half-time to win 55-36.
Saracens opened the scoring with a try from Juan Martin Gonzalez from an Owen Farrell grubber kick. but Connacht hit back through a Bundee Aki try on 11 minutes at the end of a driving maul. An Owen Farrell penalty edged Sarries back in front, only for Connacht to re-take the lead on 24 minutes with a fantastic score from Caloan Blade. A Jack Carty penalty stretched the Connacht lead to 17-8, but that was as good as it got for the visitors as Saracens dominated the last ten minutes of the opening half, scoring two tries from Jamie George as the English side’s pack flexed their muscle. Leading 21-17 at the break, Saracens did not let up in the second half, and Ollie Hartley was soon over for their fourth try and when Cian Prendergast was sin-binned for Connacht soon after, the floodgates opened. Sean Maitland and Lucio Cinti crossed over for tries to put the game to bed, but Connacht replied with a fine effort from replacement JJ Hanrahan who scored his side’s third try and a chance of a bonus point with the score at 43-24. Saracens Mario Itoje had been yellow-carded for a high tackle but his side still scored again through Ollie Hartley to make it 5-24 with 15 minutes left. Then Connacht got the reward their offensive play deserved when Joe Joyce went over for the crucial fourth try and a bonus point before the scoring was rounded off with replacement hooker Theo Dan scoring a try for Saracens and Cian Prendergast doing likewise for Connacht with a late consolation.
FINAL SCORE: Saracens 55 Connacht 36