Scarlets 22, Saracens 22: Last-gasp Sarries seal place in European Champions Cup quarter-finals

Ross McLean
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Scarlets v Saracens - European Rugby Champions Cup
Chris Ashton crossed the line twice as Saracens drew with Scarlets (Source: Getty)

Saracens boss Mark McCall praised his side’s doggedness after a last-gasp Chris Ashton try snatched a dramatic 22-22 draw with Scarlets and sealed their passage to the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Ashton crossed the line for the second time with the final play of the game and Owen Farrell duly converted, after Wales centre Scott Williams appeared to have set Scarlets on course for victory with a second-half touchdown.

The draw ended Scarlets’ hopes of reaching the last eight, while reigning champions and Pool Three leaders Saracens failed to set a tournament record of 14 successive wins.

“From a performance point of view, there were a lot of things we didn’t do well today,” said McCall. “We made more mistakes than we wanted.

“But we find a way to be resilient, hang in there and give ourselves a chance. To find a way to get two points out of it is a good achievement.”

Scarlets held a 9-5 half-time lead as three Dan Jones penalties cancelled out wing Nathan Earle’s try for the visitors, only for Toulon-bound Ashton to cross the line and fire Saracens into the lead nine minutes after the re-start.

Williams pierced a gaping hole in the Saracens defence moments later to restore the home side’s advantage before Ashton’s late intervention and the boot of Farrell shattered the Welsh outfit.

Saracens boast a five-point lead over second-placed Toulon, who beat Sale Sharks 27-12 yesterday, in their pool and remain on course for a home quarter-final, while the two European heavyweights meet at Allianz Park on Saturday.