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Saracens and Racing meet again in mouth-watering semi-final

Thursday 24th September 2020

1:15 pm (GMT)

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Saracens and Racing meet again in mouth-watering semi-final

Make sure you watch this weekend's Heineken Champions Cup semi-finals!

Saracens will be aiming to reach their fourth Heineken Champions Cup final in five years, while Racing 92 will be bidding for their third in five when they meet in the semi-finals at the Paris La Défense Arena on Saturday (13:00 UK and Irish time).

Saracens have won six of their eight meetings with Racing in the Champions Cup, but the French side handed the reigning champions their second defeat in 16 matches in the competition with a 30-10 victory back in November which helped them top Pool 4.

The tie is on BT Sport, Channel 4, Virgin Media, beIN SPORTS and FR 2.

Pool positions 

Racing: 1st, Pool 4, 23 points. 

Saracens: 2nd, Pool 4, 18 points. 

QF results 

ASM Clermont Auvergne 27 Racing 36 

Leinster Rugby 17 Saracens 25 

Head-to-head record 

Racing wins: 2 

Draws: 0 

Saracens wins: 6 

Leading 2019/20 points-scorers 

RacingTeddy Iribaren 48Maxime Machenaud 38, Teddy Thomas 30 

Saracens: Manu Vunipola 26Alex Goode 19Owen Farrell 17 

Team news

  • Racing 92 wing Teddy Thomas is a notable addition to the French side’s firepower in the backs. He teams up with the likes of Juan Imhoff, Simon Zebo, Finn Russell and Teddy Iribaren. Donnacha Ryan also comes in to the pack.
  • Saracens have named an unchanged starting XV after a stunning quarter-final success over Leinster last week. Sean Maitland and Jackson Wray are the only players who start this weekend and also featured in the Round 1 loss in Paris.

Key quotes 

  • Teddy Iribaren (Racing 92): We don’t care about our record against Saracens and it doesn’t give us any more pleasure to beat Saracens than Leinster. We just concentrate on ourselves and what we want is to be European champions.” 
  • Elliot Daly (Saracens): “It’s all eyes on this competition for us this year. There are some huge boys in that changing room who won’t be Sarries next year, so we are doing it for them at the moment. We have hopefully two more games.” 

Match facts

  • Saracens have won six of their eight meetings with Racing 92 in the Heineken Champions Cup (L2), including victories in both knockout clashes during that sequence (2015 QF, 2016 Final). However, Racing were victorious at Paris La Défense Arena in Round 1 this season.
  • Racing have reached the semi-finals for the third time, qualifying for the final on both previous occasions. Saracens have reached this stage on seven occasions (W4, L3), winning their last three semi-finals in a row.
  • Racing have won 10 of their last 11 home games in the Heineken Champions Cup (L1), including seven of eight since moving to Paris La Défense Arena, although their solitary defeat came in their only knockout game during that run (2019 quarter-final v Toulouse).
  •  Saracens have won 14 of their 16 Heineken Champions Cup matches since the beginning of 2018/19 (L2), although one of their two defeats was that 30-10 loss to Racing in Round 1.
  •  Saracens have won 10 of their last 11 knockout fixtures in the Heineken Champions Cup (L1), including their last four in a row, with their only defeat in that spell against Leinster in the 2018 quarter-final.
  •  Racing have made 88 clean breaks this season, more than any other side and their highest total in this category was against Saracens in Round 1 (20).
  • Racing have received six yellow cards to date, and no side has been shown more (level with Gloucester), while Saracens have had the most red cards this season (2).
  • Maro Itoje made 19 tackles in the quarter-final victory over Leinster, the most of any player last weekend, while his teammates Brad Barritt and Duncan Taylor made the joint most tackles of any back (16 each).
  • Virimi Vakatawa (Racing 92) has beaten 42 defenders, 13 more than any other player and over four times as many as any Saracens player (Elliot Daly – 10).  

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Late Imhoff try sends Racing 92 into Heineken Champions Cup final

Saturday 26th September 2020

3:33 pm (GMT)

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Late Imhoff try sends Racing 92 into Heineken Champions Cup final

Racing 92 celebrate after their Heineken Champions Cup semi-final win over Saracens

Juan Imhoff scored a stunning 76th minute try that was enough for Racing 92 to secure a spot in the Heineken Champions Cup final after a dramatic 19-15 semi-final win over Saracens in Paris.

In a heavyweight clash that looked to be settled between kickers Alex Goode and Teddy Iribaren, it was a stunning move combining Finn Russell, Virimi Vakatawa and Imhoff with three minutes to play that settled the thrilling last four clash.

The French side got off to a good start when Saracens were penalised for not rolling away, allowing Teddy Iribaren to step up and make no mistake from the kicking tee.

Alex Goode – the star of the show in Dublin last week – then nudged Saracens into a three-point lead with two penalty kicks before Iribaren hit back with interest, including a three-pointer just before the break, to put Racing 92 9-6 ahead.

Saracens would dominate the early stages of the second period, winning penalty after penalty in kicking range so that Goode could add three, six and then nine points to his tally, putting Saracens 15-9 ahead.

Replacement kicker Maxime Machenaud cut the gap to three points with 11 minutes to play, before the final stunning act of a Heineken Champions Cup classic.

It came to Russell who pulled off a stunning chipped kick into the path of Vakatawa on halfway. He fumbled the ball but managed to keep hold of possession, sprinted clear before handing back to the fly-half.

Russell had the extra man on his outside and made no mistake in finding Imhoff who sprinted away and dived over for the crucial try with three minutes to play.

Machenaud landed the conversion, forcing Saracens to look for a last-gasp try but as they moved play wide, Teddy Thomas managed to disrupt the attack and get the ball out of play to secure the Parisian’s spot in next month’s showpiece final.

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