Munster floored by Saracens in Champions Cup

Chris Ashton scored a try for Saracens

Chris Ashton scored a try for Saracens

Saracens took a giant stride towards the European Champions Cup quarter-finals by flooring Irish heavyweights Munster at Allianz Park.

Last year's European runners-up moved top of Pool One by delivering arguably their most complete performance of the season, cruising home 33-10.

Wings Chris Wyles and Chris Ashton scored first-half tries, before Ashton added a second touchdown after the break, while Owen Farrell reminded England head coach Stuart Lancaster of his quality prior to next week's RBS 6 Nations squad announcement by kicking four penalties and three conversions for an 18-point haul.

French giants Clermont Auvergne remain favourites to win the group – they host Saracens on Sunday week – but it is probable that one of three best runners-up spots in terms of last-eight qualification will be filled by either club.

Twice European champions Munster, though, are staring at pool-stage elimination – barring a mathematical miracle – for only a second time in the last 17 seasons, even if they defeat Thomond Park visitors Sale Sharks in bonus-point fashion next weekend.

Centre Denis Hurley's late try, plus an Ian Keatley conversion and penalty, could not mask Munster deficiencies, as Saracens overpowered them up front and won an overwhelming majority of midfield collisions.

And while Munster's European fate looks sealed, Saracens appear well equipped to make another assault on silverware, even if they did not collect a bonus point their dominance deserved.

Get all the best rugby coverage in this weekend's Sunday World newspaper.

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