|Heineken Champions Cup Pool Four|
|Saracens (17) 27|
|Tries: Itoje (2), M Vunipola Cons: Farrell (3) Pens: Farrell (2)|
|Racing 92 (21) 24|
|Tries: Vakatawa (2), Dupichot Cons: Russell, Iribaren (2) Pen: Iribaren|
Saracens gave themselves a chance of reaching the Champions Cup quarter-finals with a tense victory over Racing 92, less than 24 hours after their Premiership relegation was announced.
The defending champions lost Billy Vunipola to injury and had Will Skelton sent off as they trailed at half-time.
Maro Itoje’s second try levelled the scores and Owen Farrell’s late penalty gave them an emotional victory.
Their place in the last eight depends on Gloucester’s game against Toulouse.
Gloucester must beat the French side with a bonus point or by more than 12 points to take Saracens’ place in the quarter-finals.
Saracens seal late victory amid strange atmosphere
It was a subdued crowd before kick-off at Allianz Park as Saracens fans digested the news that their side would be playing in the Championship next season.
Sarries no longer have anything to play for in the Premiership, so needed victory against Racing 92 to keep not just their Champions Cup campaign but their entire season alive.
It seemed the players were using the relegation announcement as emotional fuel as they made a fast start, with Itoje barrelling across the line in the second minute after a kick to the corner.
Mako Vunipola added their second try from a similar line-out move shortly after, but it was not all smiles in north London.
Mako’s brother Billy had left the field a few minutes earlier with a suspected broken forearm, his fourth such injury and bad news for England fans with Eddie Jones’ Six Nations squad set to be announced on Monday.
The tables turned as Racing 92 got on the board when Elliot Daly missed a high ball from Finn Russell and Virimi Vakatawa grabbed hold of it to sprint across the tryline.
A Farrell penalty levelled things before Racing wing Louis Dupichot intercepted the fly-half’s pass to score the French side’s second try.
And things went from bad to worse as Vakatawa scored a second and Saracens forward Will Skelton was sent off for a late challenge on Brice Dulin.
More to follow.
Saracens: Daly; Maitland, Taylor, Barritt (c), Segun; Farrell, Spencer; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Wray, Earl, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Singleton, Barrington, Lamositele, Skelton, Clark, Whiteley, Lozowski, Lewington.
Racing 92: Dulin; Dupichot, Vakatawa, Chavancy (c), Imhoff; Russell, Iribaren; Ben Arous, Baubigny, Gomes Sa, Ryan, Palu, Lauret, Le Roux, Tanga.
Replacements: Le Guen, Kolingar, Oz, Sanconnie, Chouzenoux, Machenaud, Trinh-Duc, Klemenczak.
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