Saracens wingers praise team performance for Clermont victory
Try-scoring heroes keen to share praise after bonus-point Champions Cup win over French league leaders
Saracens’ try-scoring heroes declared themselves pleased to get their European Rugby Champions Cup campaign off to a winning start against Clermont Auvergne.
Chris Ashton and David Strettle both went over twice in their bonus-point 30-23 win over the French league leaders at a packed Allianz Park on Saturday, but were quick to praise their team-mates and home support as they moved to the top of Pool 1.
We looked calm on the pitch, there was times out there where we could have had panicked, but our general played so well
“I’m really happy to win our first game of the competition at home,” said Ashton, who was the top try-scorer in last season’s Heineken Cup.
“I thought we could have put them under more pressure, but overall I thought we were fantastic to get a result against a team as good as Clermont.
“There were a couple of tries for the wingers today. [Clermont] scored one off the back of a set-piece and one from a kick – they’re a good team, and we did well to shut them down for the majority of the game.”
Ashton’s fellow winger Strettle also praised their composure as they came from behind against their semi-final opponents last season with outside-half Charlie Hodgson putting in a man of the match performance.
“This weekend was a great performance,” Strettle said.
“We looked calm on the pitch, there was times out there where we could have had panicked, but our general played so well. I thought that everything came good today.
“Clermont are one of the best teams in Europe. We knew we’d have to come out and bring the type of performance we did last season if we were to get anywhere near a result today.
“I thought we did really well to hold on but for large parts of the game we dictated and I though Charlie was amazing yet again. This place is a fortress, and it was once again.
Next up for the Londoners is a trip to Ireland to face Munster at Thomond Park and Strettle admitted it will be another tough test if they are to leave Limerick with another win.
“We’ll enjoy the win,” he added. “In Europe, it’s only a big result if you back it up.
“We’ve got to go over to Munster to perform and play really well to get a result there. We know it’s going to be tough again, and that’s the beauty of playing Europe.”