Ashton hopes it will be third time lucky as Saracens reach European final
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Chris Ashton hopes he will be a European champion at the third attempt after Saracens beat Wasps to secure their place in the final.
The Hendon outfit came from 7-0 down to overcome their Premiership rivals 24-17 at Reading’s Madejski Stadium on Saturday and set up a showdown with French outfit Racing 92 in Lyon on May 14.
Winger Ashton has been on the losing side in two previous European finals – with Northampton in 2011 and then Saracens in 2014 – but he hopes to be celebrating a Champions Cup triumph this time.
“It is so tough to get to this final,” said the England international. “Obviously, I have been there twice before, so it’s third time lucky – we have definitely got the team to do it.
“Wasps are an outstanding team. We did enough to get over them, and I still think we’ve got a bit left in us.
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“Going down 7-0 quite early, it’s easy to fold and take more points and try to fix it straight away, but we were quite comfortable with the situation we were in and always thought we could get ourselves back in the game.
“So I think that experience of previous years of being in these games, like the Toulon game (the 2014 final), is important. The team is in a good place.
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“You’ve got to use the experience of being in previous finals. It is where you get that experience. I think you have to lose games like finals to finally win one. I just hope we’ve lost enough now.
“Finals are [decided on] fine margins. The last one against Toulon, it was one fluky bounce of the ball, [Drew] Mitchell catches it and [Matt] Giteau scores in the corner. That was the whole game, that was literally it – and the Northampton final [against Leinster] was a tale of two halves. Anything can happen in a final.”
Dan Robson scored an early try for Wasps at the weekend but Michael Rhodes then went over for Saracens and Owen Farrell kicked four penalties, while a penalty try made it 24-10.
Ashley Johnson narrowed the gap late on but it was Sarries who advanced to the final.
Their next challenge is to stay top of the Premiership table as they prepare to host Newcastle Falcons in their penultimate league fixture on Sunday.