Saracens into quarters


SARACENS boss Mark McCall hailed loan signing Peter Stringer after the Premiership champions fought back to become the only English side to reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

England stars David Strettle and Mauritz Botha notched tries and Owen Farrell landed six vital kicks as Sarries confirmed their status as Pool Five winners and set up a home tie against Clermont Auvergne.

Their Italian opponents made them battle, however, and Ireland scrum-half Stringer typified a gritty team performance with one try-saving tackle on Treviso lock Antonio Pavanello.

“Peter has been a great signing for our club,” McCall said. “He was one of the better players today. His work-rate and his aggression on our line was brilliant.”

Stringer, signed as cover for injured No9s Richard Wigglesworth and Neil de Kock, is two months into a three-month loan from Munster and it remains unclear whether he will still be at Vicarage Road come the quarter-finals. Saracens trailed 17-13 at half-time and McCall added: “In the second half we dug in, and I have nothing but admiration for the way we got the job done.”

Premiership rivals Harlequins and Northampton failed to progress from their groups.

Munster v Ulster

Leinster v Cardiff Blues

Edinburgh v Toulouse

Saracens v Clermont Auvergne

Ties to be played 6/7/8 April