Saracens win historic second successive Champions Cup

Saracens lock Maro Itoje mans the phones during his job swap with an office worker

Saracens delivered another magnificent combination of technique, talent and mental resilience to overcome Clermont Auvergne 28-17 and retain the European Champions Cup after a gripping final at Murrayfield on Saturday.

As well as the prestigious accolade, the England worldwide became the first recipient of the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy and scoops one million air miles courtesy of tournament partners, Turkish Airlines.

Saracens could become the fourth club to win back-to-back European Cup titles, after Leicester Tigers, Leinster Rugby and RC Toulon.

"It was one of our best performances of the year", Goode told BT Sport.

Defeat enhanced Clermont's reputation as rugby's "nearly" side.

Saracens will now turn their attention to trying to complete the double-double - they face Exeter away in the Premiership semi-finals next week. "We are absolutely gutted".

Ashton is not everybody's cup of tea but there is little doubting his talent as a finisher and he secured his place in the history books with his record-breaking 37th European Cup try with the opener in Edinburgh.

For a long time it just offered the chance for the champions to show their defensive class but a try of the season contender saw them right back in it.

However, Ashton was not to be denied and the former England worldwide opened the scoring in the 13th minute, thus breaking the 36-try mark he had shared with former France star Vincent Clerc. Camille Lopez kicked long and, after a rolling maul was held up over the line, Clermont did not try to drive the scrum but moved the ball behind.

Clad in his Saracens gear and trademark scrum cap Itoje kicks back during his shift
Clad in his Saracens gear and trademark scrum cap Itoje kicks back during his shift

He released Goode whose grubber kick behind Spedding allowed Ashton to win the race for the loose ball and dive over in trademark fashion.

Now Farrell's conversion attempt hit a post, and that was followed by an optimistic 49-metre penalty shot landing short in a tricky wind - but maybe the decision itself spoke of the early confidence surging through Saracens. Farrell was on target this time, stretching the lead to 12-0.

Saracens: A Goode; C Ashton, M Bosch, B Barritt (capt), C Wyles; O Farrell, R Wigglesworth; M Vunipola, J George, V Koch, M Itoje, G Kruis, M Rhodes, J Wray, B Vunipola.

Clermont Auvergne: S Spedding (P Fernandez 71); D Strettle, A Rougerie (D Penaud 53), R Lamerat, N Abendanon; C Lopez, M Parra (L Radosavljevic 75); R Chaume (E Falgoux 22), B Kayser (J Ulugia 67), D Zirakashvili (A JArvis 77), A Iturria, S Vahaamahina (P Jedrasiak 46), D Chouly, P Yato (A Lapandry 62), F Lee.

And while a thrilling length-of-the-field score - finished off by Nick Abendanon - brought the Top 14 side within a point, Saracens kept their cool to deliver the killer blow late on through Goode.

When Sarries needed to work their way into this game, Chris Ashton made a searing early break that only an outstanding tackle from Nick Abendanon could stop becoming a try, and every time they looked for a cutting edge they turned to the wing.

The key to Clermont is that they are lightning fast - they can go and score seven, 14,21 points very quickly.

Fly-half Farrell was named European Player of the Year after the final whistle, following in the footsteps of teammate Maro Itoje who won in 2016, and admits the closeness of the squad played its part once again.

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