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Saracens have unfinished business to settle as they travel to mainland France on Sunday afternoon for a crunch clash with rivals ASM Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel-Michelin, live on BT Sport.
- A rematch of last season's final was always destined to be the headline of Round 3, but the encounter's coverage escalated rapidly as the match was postponed to Monday because of heavy snow in Barnet, only for defending Campions Cup winners Saracens to receive a 46-16 drubbing at the hands of ASM Clermont Auvergne, their heaviest ever defeat in European competition.
- It was a reverse which ended a 20-match unbeaten run on the continent for Saracens and much of the damaged was architected by Fijian winger Alivereti Raka, whose 13-minute hat-trick of tries smashed a 20-year-old European record for the fastest hat-trick.
- The triumph ensured ASM Clermont Auvergne seized control of Pool 2, moving four points clear of Saracens, who now face a desperate fight to regain form and reach the knockout stages of the Champions Cup, starting with a return leg in France, where the Aviva Premiership side hope to arrest a run of six successive defeats in all competitions.
- Despite Saracens winning to take the Champions Cup crown back in May, last weekend's result means ASM Clermont Auvergne have won six of the nine meetings between the side in Europe – and the French heavyweights will also be encouraged by the fact they have won their 12 previous home encounters against Aviva Premiership opposition.
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Scott Spedding’s last-gasp kick condemned Saracens to their seventh successive defeat and their second inside six days to ASM Clermont Auvergne.
- The defending champions looked set to bounce back from Monday’s chastening 46-14 defeat at Allianz Park as they took a 13-0 lead through two Owen Farrell kicks and a try by scrum-half Ben Spencer after he accelerated away from a ruck.
- However, Morgan Parra gradually whittled that lead away with three penalties, capitalising on Sarries’ indiscipline at the breakdown. A Scott Spedding kick from distance just before the break reduced the deficit to 13-12.
- Will Skelton was sin-binned for persistent infringing before half-time and two more Parra penalties put Clermont ahead after the re-start.
- However, Clermont replacement Nick Abendanon was yellow carded after half-time, during which time Alex Lozowski cut inside to touch down for Sarries.
- Juan Figallo then went in the bin for the English side and with 14 men they defended stoutly until Parra restored parity at 21-21 with his sixth penalty, then Spedding kept his nerve with a kick from distance to win it with a minute to go.
- Clermont therefore wrap up a fourth straight win in Pool 2, while Saracens need to win their last two games to give themselves a chance of reaching the quarter-finals.
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