European Rugby Champions Cup: Lyon 10-28 Saracens

Nick Tompkins played alongside Maro Itoje for England Under-20s
European Champions Cup - Pool Three
Lyon (3) 10
Try: Palisson Con: Palisson Drop-goal: Wisniewski
Saracens (14) 28
Tries: Tompkins 2, Wray, Spencer Cons: Farrell 4

Two-time Champions Cup winners Saracens are in the quarter-finals after a bonus-point victory against Lyon.

Centre Nick Tompkins claimed two tries for Sarries, unbeaten in this season's competition, with flanker Jackson Wray and scrum-half Ben Spencer scoring too.

England lock Maro Itoje's return from injury was marred by a yellow card, but Saracens remain top of Pool Three.

The English side will win their section if they beat Glasgow in the last round of pool games on Saturday.

Alexis Palisson scored the only try for Lyon, who are yet to win a game in this season's competition and face Cardiff Blues in the final round on Saturday.

Pool Three
Played Won Points
1. Saracens 5 5 23
2. Glasgow 5 4 19
3. Cardiff 5 1 5
4. Lyon 5 0 0

Few chances to shine for Saracens' internationals

Itoje's comeback turned sour after he was given a yellow card for slapping the ball out of Charl McLeod's hands in the second half.

Back after chipping his kneecap in England's autumn Test series, the 24-year-old had few chances to impress before he was sin-binned, with try-scoring opportunities rare for the visitors.

Instead, it was former England Under-20 centre Tompkins who stole the limelight - finding a gap in the Lyon defence to go over in the first half before sneaking round the side of a maul to score in the second.

Alex Goode has not played for England since November 2016, but continued to make his case to head coach Eddie Jones, with an impressive break in midfield to send Spencer over.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend, though, may have cause for concern after Saracens wing Sean Maitland, capped 37 times for the national side, was replaced by Alex Lewington in the first 20 minutes.

Jones has reason to celebrate though, with Jack Nowell making a successful return for Exeter earlier on Sunday and Jonathan Joseph set to return for Bath next week.

Saracens are guaranteed a runners-up qualification spot, but will hope to secure a home quarter-final when they welcome Glasgow to Allianz Park next weekend.

What they said

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said on BT Sport:

"We had to work hard to get the four tries, but we did so I'm really pleased.

"It felt a little bit like old Saracens. We dominated field position, we put them in positions they didn't want to be in and defended well.

"We've still not won our group and we've got a might contest in Glasgow next week."

Line-ups

Saracens: Goode; Maitland, Tompkins. Lozowski, Williams; Farrell, Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Wray, Burger, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Tolofua, Barrington, Judge, Skelton, Earl, Spence, Bosch, Lewington

Sin-bin: Itoje (54)

Lyon: Arnold; Nakaitaci, Barassi, Regard, Palisson; Wisniewski, Doussain; Menini, Lacombe, Gomez Kodela, Roodt, Van der Merwe, Puricelli (captain), Cretin, Fourie.

Replacements: Maurouard, Buckle, Yameogo, Oosthuizen, Gill, Wulf, Buttin, McLeod.

Sin-bin: Buckle (54)

Ref: Andrew Brace (Ire)

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Source: BBC Rugby Union News

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By adamreeves / Administrator, bbp_keymaster on Jan 13, 2019