Beaten Saracens back on track says Mako
PUBLISHED: 19:54 17 December 2017 | UPDATED: 19:54 17 December 2017
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Saracens prop Mako Vunipola believes the European champions are back on track despite being beaten at the death by Clermont Auvergne.
Mark McCall’s men led 13-0 and looked to be on course for a revenge victory after last Monday’s heavy 46-14 home defeat to the side they overcame to win the Champions Cup in Lyon last season.
But instead Clermont inflicted Sarries’ seventh straight defeat with a late Scott Spedding penalty sealing a 24-21 success for the French club.
Vunipola said: “I think we’re a team who pride ourselves on the performances we deliver and even though we didn’t win today, the performance was one we can be proud of.
“It was an amazing atmosphere and we had our backs against the walls at times.
“The boys went out there and relished it. We were disappointed at the end there, our discipline let us down.
“But Clermont are a quality side and we can take heart from that game. We know there’s a lot to work on but to come here and not let them in for a try is pleasing, but there’s a lot of work to go.
“A few boys will be disappointed but that’s expected when you lose a close game. We have to move on from this, take the positive and look at what we have to work on for next.”
Ben Spencer’s early try helped the European champions build their lead but the three-time runners-up chipped away at the lead thanks to the boot of Morgan Parra.
The scrum-half surpassed 500 European points as he landed five kicks to add to Spedding’s long-range penalty to make it 18-13, before Alex Lozowski went over for Sarries’ second to get them back in front.
But Spedding was on hand to kick Clermont to victory, leaving Saracens in need of two wins from their final two matches to give themselves a chance of advancing to the quarter-finals.
Ospreys leapfrogged Saracens into second place in Pool 2, while Clermont are on course to finally lift the trophy after falling at the last hurdle on three occasions.
Match-winner Spedding said: “This match was more difficult than Monday but we knew that, we knew they were more motivated and they would come to make a statement, but we have managed to stop them from doing that.”
Man of the match Parra added: “We struggled to get into the match this time, many factors were different compared with last Monday because they raised their level of play, which is exactly what we expected.
“We need to build on this and get points in the Top14, we’re going to get back in it quickly but we need to savour tonight.”