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European Champions Cup
Farrell boots Saracens to Champions Cup glory
ESPN Staff
May 14, 2016
Report Match details
Date/Time: May 14, 2016, 17:45 local, 15:45 GMT
Venue: Grand Stade de Lyon, D├ęcines-Charpieu, France
Racing Metro 9 - 21 Saracens
Attendance: 58017  Half-time: 6 - 12
Pens: Goosen 3
Pens: Farrell 7
LYON, FRANCE - MAY 14: Owen Farrell of Saracens kicks a penalty to open the scoring during the European Rugby Champions Cup Final match between Racing 92 and Saracens at the Stade de Lyon on May 14, 2016 in Lyon, France.
Owen Farrell kicked all 21 points for Saracens in a tense final in Lyon
© Getty Images
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A match-winning performance from Owen Farrell sealed Saracens' first ever European Champions Cup as they defeated Racing 92 in Lyon.

Farrell booted seven penalties from seven attempts in a 21-9 success, outshining his revered opposite number Dan Carter at Grand Stade de Lyon and taking Saracens to the summit of European rugby. Not since Lawrence Dallaglio's Wasps in 2007 had an English team won European club rugby's most coveted trophy, and it could get even better for Saracens, as they are just two wins away from successfully defending their Aviva Premiership title.

Wasps were also the last English team to complete a domestic and European double, but the fact that was 12 years ago underlines its acute degree of difficulty. New Zealand World Cup winner Carter departed injured just two minutes into the second half - Racing had already seen his half-back partner Maxime Machenaud go off - and three Johann Goosen penalties were their solitary scoring contributions during a final that Saracens never seriously looked like losing.

Their triumph ended a run of Irish and French dominance in Europe, while Saracens also became the first team in the competition's history to stay unbeaten, winning nine successive games, including six pool matches.

A 58,000 crowd witnessed a try-less final, but Saracens will not care less as they compensated for defeat against a Jonny Wilkinson-inspired Toulon two years ago when the French heavyweights completed the second stage of an eventual European title hat-trick.

Lyon's weather did it its best to throw all elements at the teams. Pre-match heavy rain and hail was replaced by bright sunshine at kick-off, and Racing made a bright start as they gained an immediate scrum penalty, but a long-range Machenaud strike drifted narrowly wide. Saracens, though, were also quick into their stride, with England lock Maro Itoje smashing his way past Racing flanker Wenceslas Lauret in an impressive statement of intent, then Racing tighthead prop Ben Tameifuna infringed at a scrum five metres from his own line and Farrell made no mistake with the resulting penalty to make it 3-0.

Conditions proved difficult, with handling particularly challenging, but Racing drew level after 18 minutes when Goosen landed one of his trademark penalties from just inside the opposition half. Farrell then saw a drop-goal attempt miss the target, before both players lost players for head injury assessments - Racing scrum-half Machenaud and Saracens hooker Schalk Brits - which saw Mike Phillips and Jamie George make early appearances off the bench.

Machenaud then made his way to join the Racing replacements, suggesting he would not be back, but Brits rejoined the action just as Farrell completed his penalty hat-trick through a short-range kick after 32 minutes. Clear try-scoring opportunities remained at a premium, with goal-kickers controlling the scoreboard, and after Goosen cut the gap to three points, Farrell stroked over a 48-metre effort that made it 12-6 approaching half-time.

Racing then looked to break Saracens' defence from a lineout just 10 metres out, but they could find no way through and scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth's kick to touch ended an opening 40 minutes high on endeavour, yet lacking individual brilliance and creative consistency. Racing had been protecting Carter from much of the action during the second quarter, so it was perhaps it was no real surprise that he departed soon after the interval, as Remi Tales took over from him.

A fifth Farrell penalty took Saracens nine points clear, and with England's second-row pairing of Itoje and George Kruis playing increasingly dominant roles, their team looked well placed to tighten their grip.

Farrell was then warned by referee Nigel Owens following a tackle on Racing number eight Chris Masoe that prompted Owens to view video replays, but a warning and no yellow card was exactly the right call. Racing entered the final quarter knowing that they had to make inroads, yet they lacked composure when in sight of Saracens' line, with Goosen once again relied upon to kick a penalty.

It proved the prelude to a sustained spell of Racing pressure, but there was no way through a well-organised and committed Saracens defence, as they produced some outstanding controlled rugby under pressure during the tense closing stages. And Farrell's final two penalty strikes during the closing four minutes sent Saracens into European dreamland after an emphatic case of mission accomplished.

Alex Goode takes evasive action as he looks to attack for Saracens © Getty Images
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