Champions Cup: Bulls prove too strong for Saracens

Champions Cup: Bulls prove too strong for Saracens

The Bulls secured a convincing 27-16 victory over Owen Farrell's Saracens in their Champions Cup clash at Loftus Versfeld.

The England playmaker, who is taking a break from international rugby for his mental well-being, kicked his two penalty attempts and had plenty of trademark up-and-unders, but also missed a penalty kick to the corner when Saracens were still in the game and both conversion attempts.

Saracens' hopes were undermined by indiscipline, with Billy Vunipola shown a red card for launching himself into a clear-out and making contact with the head.

That followed yellow cards for Alex Goode and Maro Itoje, meaning Saracens played more than half the game with 14 players.

While English eyes were on the performance of Farrell as he returned to captain Saracens after missing last week's defeat to Northampton with a knee problem, it was the South Africans who started with greater impact and confidence in Pretoria.

They turned the early pressure into points by going wide, with centre David Kriel finishing off a back-line passing move for the opening try.

Farrell got himself and Saracens on the scoreboard with a straightforward penalty which was quickly cancelled out by opposite number Johan Goosen. He then extended his side's lead after Saracens gave away a ruck penalty.

Saracens went down to 14 men when full-back Goode was adjudged to have blocked Bulls wing Kurt-Lee Arendse after a kick ahead - an unlucky decision as the Saracens full-back appeared to do little more than brace for impact.

Saracens kept that period scoreless by the narrowest of margins when Stedman Gans just put a foot in touch on the way to the line after the ball went loose from a kick.

When Goode returned, Saracens were fortunate he was not immediately replaced by Elliot Daly, whose deliberate knock-on was deemed worthy of just a penalty.

They were not so fortunate a couple of minutes later when lock Itoje slowed Bulls possession down on the Saracens line. He saw yellow and Bulls lock Janko Swanepoel barged over from the tap penalty for his side's second try.

It meant the Bulls went into the break with a 20-6 lead, with two tries scored and two disallowed by the TMO.

Wing Canan Moodie added another following a break by Arendse, but Saracens hit back, working Daly clear in the corner for their first try.

Theo McFarland added a second from close range for the visitors as the minutes ticked away, before Farrell hit a post with the conversion.

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