European Champions Cup: Saracens 38-19 Glasgow

Billy Vunipola
Billy Vunipola's score ensured Saracens a half-time lead at Allianz Park
European Champions Cup
Saracens (24) 38
Tries: Spencer, Koch, B Vunipola, Itoje, Skelton Cons: Spencer (3) Lozowski (2) Pen: Spencer
Glasgow (19) 19
Tries: Seymour, Price, Wilson Cons: Hastings (2)

Saracens secured a home Champions Cup quarter-final as they eventually subdued a spirited Glasgow at home.

The two sides shared six tries in an entertaining first half with Ben Spencer, Vincent Koch and Billy Vunipola scoring for the hosts and Tommy Seymour, Ali Price and Ryan Wilson crossing for Glasgow.

Maro Itoje and Will Skelton cantered in to wrap up victory after the break.

Glasgow though are in a first top-tier last-eight clash since 2017 regardless.

England captain Owen Farrell was withdrawn from the Saracens starting line-up shortly before kick-off as it was revealed he is to undergo a surgical procedure on his thumb that is expected to keep him sidelined for up to 10 days.

The two sides could well be paired again in the quarter-finals, with Saracens through as top seeds and Glasgow filling one of three runner-up spots.

If so, it will likely complete a trilogy of ill-tempered meetings.

Champions Cup Pool Three table

The first-round meeting between these teams back in October was a bruising, cagey affair, which featured just one try and plenty of niggles between the two sets of forwards.

Three months on, the friction between the sides remained but Allianz Park was treated to a free-flowing opening half-hour.

After Spencer scored the opening try, Glasgow's backline showed their ambition with a long looping miss pass that freed Seymour to dart in.

Price pounced on a charge-down to put the visitors ahead, three minutes before Koch burrowed over at the bottom of a rolling maul to regain the lead.

Wilson barged over from close range to put Glasgow in front once more, only for Vunipola to pick and go from the base of the scrum and ensure his side a 24-19 advantage at the break.

In total, the lead swapped hands four times as Glasgow's high-tempo game and maverick approach to broken field ruffled the hosts.

Glasgow needed not only to beat Saracens with a bonus point to leap-frog them in Pool Three, but deny them a losing bonus point.

With Saracens' earning three tries and a five-point lead by the end of the first half, it was always a tall order for David Rennie's side.

Saracens returned to the field in a far more clinical mood and, with stuttering Glasgow's line-out coughing up possession on four occasions, clinched a home quarter-final when Itoje was freed by some slick handling from fellow forwards Jamie George and Skelton.

Skelton stretched over late on to add a flattering gloss to a scoreline that may well be tighter if the teams are reunited in the last eight.

Saracens: Williams; Lewington, Tompkins, Barritt, Strettle; Goode, Spencer; M Vunipola, George, Koch, Itoje, Kruis, Wray, Burger, B Vunipola.

Replacements: Tolofua (for George, 76), Barrington (for M Vunipola, 70), Judge (for Koch, 65), Skelton (for Wray, 58), Clark (for Burger, 52), Wigglesworth (for Spencer, 52), Lozowski (for Strettle, 14), Gallagher (for Lewington, 75).

Glasgow: Hogg; Seymour, Grigg, Johnson, DTH van der Merwe; Hastings, Price; Kebble, Stewart, Halanukonuka, Swinson, Gray, Harley, Fusaro, Wilson.

Replacements: Bryce (for Stewart, 52), Allan (or Kebble, 70), Rae (for Halanukonuka, 70), Ashe (for Gray, 41), Smith (for Wilson, 46), Horne (for Price, 65), Jones (for Johnson, 50), Matawalu (for Seymour, 65).

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