Road warriors scare Saracens

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Statistics say that Glasgow Warriors are the Heineken Cup’s most hopeless travellers – and 25 consecutive defeats over 10 years can hardly be laughed off. But they came close to breaking that sequence and stealing a match that had long looked lost as they went down 33-31 to Saracens.

Glasgow at least had the consolation of a bonus point from the narrowest defeat in that run of away losses. The match appeared to be in a holding pattern with Saracens leading 30-17 after 75 minutes. Sarries had their four-try bonus point from earlier scores by lock Hugh Vyvyan, wing Rodd Penney, number-eight Ben Skirving and wing Kaleli Ratuvou. Glasgow, while never short on enterprise, struggled in the forward phases and looked as though they would have to settle for having scored the afternoon’s best try courtesy of flanker John Barclay in the 29th minute. But in that 75th minute, Hefin O’Hare cut in from the left and, finding a space, charged untouched for 25 metres to the line. Dan Parks kicked the conversion and at 30-24 Glasgow were within range not only of a bonus point but also could win with another converted try. They got the try and conversion as well, skipper Alastair Kellock crossing in injury-time for Parks to land another kick. The trouble was that, in between, Sarries outside-half Glen Jackson had landed his third penalty to keep his team just out of reach of the lively Scots. Saracens lead the group following Biarritz’s failure to claim a bonus from their 19-11 win at Viadana on Saturday.

Bristol lost 34-18 at Cardiff after a contest that was close until Bristol prop Darren Crompton was sin-binned. Cardiff scored twice in his absence and flanker Martyn Williams claimed two tries as they took a bonus point. Last year’s semi-finalists Llanelli lost 48-21 at Clermont Auvergne, whose form suggests they might end a run of underachievement in the Heineken.

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