Champions Cup: Edinburgh edge Saracens but miss opportunity to seal home knockout tie

Edinburgh celebrate Credit: Alamy
Edinburgh celebrate Credit: Alamy

Edinburgh got the better of Saracens 20-14 in their Champions Cup fixture on Sunday, but missed an opportunity to seal a home Round of 16 clash.

The Scottish side required just one extra score to wrap up a home tie but opted to boot the ball out in a confused fashion as they let slip a big chance.

That means Edinburgh will now travel to Leicester in the knockout stages instead of hosting a game, with Saracens taking on Ospreys in the last 16.

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Dave Cherry and Pierre Schoeman crossed for Edinburgh while Blair Kinghorn added two penalties and the same amount of conversions, with Alex Goode kicking three penalties for Saracens before Ben Earl’s late effort.

Edinburgh raced into a third-minute lead when they kicked a penalty to the corner, then battled through four phases on Saracens’ line before hooker Cherry picked up from the base of a ruck and muscled over.

Kinghorn added the conversion, and then almost immediately slotted a penalty from directly in front of the posts when Jamie George was called for a high challenge on Schoeman.

Saracens bounced back with Goode kicking the points from a scrum penalty, but Edinburgh were soon back on top – and they were helped by the visitors losing two players to the sin-bin inside three minutes.

England hooker George and Italy prop Marco Riccioni were both yellow carded for failing to lower their body height in the tackle and causing head-on-head collisions.

Riccioni concussed himself and did not return after his spell on the sidelines.

Edinburgh failed to make their two-man advantage count on the scoreboard, with Jamie Ritchie passing up a golden opportunity when he lost the ball in contact as he dived under the posts.

Once back to full strength, Saracens narrowed the gap with a second Goode penalty following another collapsed scrum.

That left Edinburgh just four points ahead at the break, which was remarkable given that they had dominated the first half with 71 per cent possession.

The home side edged further ahead at the start of the second half with a Kinghorn penalty, but that was promptly cancelled out by a successful shot at goal from Goode.

The game stretched away from Saracens when Maro Itoje became the third visiting player to see yellow for a cynical offside which prevented Henry Pyrgos from moving the ball from the base of an attacking ruck.

Edinburgh kicked to the corner and Schoeman powered over from the lineout maul, with Kinghorn adding the conversion.

As you would expect, Saracens fought right to the end, and Edinburgh lost Sam Skinner to the sin-bin for collapsing a maul near his own line.

The hosts managed to hold out for a few more minutes, but eventually cracked when a long passage of play from Saracens eventually opened up a gap on the left for Billy Vunipola to send Earl over, with Goode unable to add the conversion.

READ MORE: Champions Cup: Toulouse edge impressive Munster as both teams progress to knockout stage

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