Mako helps Saracens past Munster
Saracens brought back a host of their England stars and it paid off as the European champions got their revenge on Munster on Saturday.
In the return fixtures in the double header, Mako Vunipola scored a try and was named man of the match as Saracens kept their quarter-final hopes alive in a hard-fought encounter in north London.
Elsewhere Leinster continue to dominate with a fourth win from four as Vunipola’s British & Irish Lions front-row colleague Tadhg Furlong helped them past Northampton Saints.
And Jack Nowell got over for Exeter Chiefs, who are also a perfect four from four so far in the competition.
The game of the weekend, however, came at Allianz Park where Saracens needed a win over Munster to stay in the hunt for the quarter-finals.
It was tightly-contested affair with Munster three points up heading into the final quarter of an hour.
However it was then that Saracens’ returning internationals made their presence felt, with Billy Vunipola powering off the back of a scrum to put Sean Maitland over in the corner.
Mako then got in on the act with the second try, and the boot of Owen Farrell enabled Saracens to run out 15-6 victors, crucially denying Munster a bonus point in the process.
That win gets them back to within seven points of Racing 92 at the top of the group, and a point behind Munster, with the French side still having to travel to Saracens in the final round of pool action.
LEINSTER MARCH ON
With Saracens still facing an uphill battle to reach the last eight, Leinster look like the favourites to reclaim the title they lost in the final in Newcastle.
Leo Cullen’s men ran in seven tries against Northampton Saints for the second week running, easing to a 50-21 victory at the Aviva Stadium.
Garry Ringrose scored a hat-trick, while Jordan Larmour showed off his quick feet once more in a man-of-the-match display.
And Furlong made his presence felt as he powered over midway through the first half as Leinster seized control early.
His 2017 Lions teammate Dan Biggar had just gone over for Saints’ first try, but his 11-point haul proved in vain for the visitors.
CHIEFS MASTER THE ELEMENTS
Exeter have not always been able produce their best form in Europe, but this season they are four wins from four and almost guaranteed a quarter-final place already.
At Sandy Park on Sunday, they had to do it in dreadful conditions, with a hailstorm forcing their game against Sale Sharks to be paused at one point in the second half.
Once the weather had abated, Chiefs got the fourth try they needed to secure five points, and winger Jack Nowell then made his own contribution seven minutes from time as he squeezed over in the 35-10 success.
Meanwhile in the Challenge Cup, the Scarlets kept the pressure on Toulon in their pool with a thumping victory over Bayonne.
Leigh Halfpenny racked up 21 points in total, including a late try as the Welsh side ran out 46-5 victors at Parc y Scarlets.