Saracens have delivered another superb display of rugby skill and mental resilience to eventually overcome the challenge of Clermont Auvergne 28-17 and retain the European Champions Cup after a gripping final at Murrayfield.
The London club started strongly with two tries in the first 22 minutes and looked as they were going to cruise to victory but Clermont fought back to ensure there was only a point in it going into the last 10 minutes.
Saracens, however, as they have so many times before, held their nerve under pressure in a superb atmosphere as Alex Goode broke through for the killer third try in the 73rd minute which Owen Farrell converted from the touchline.
The victory made Saracens the fourth team to retain Europe’s premier club title after Leicester, Leinster and Toulon while perennial bridesmaids Clermont, who have lost 11 of their 12 French championship finals, became the first to play in three finals and lose them all.
“The win felt different to last year, it’s a relief. There was a lot of satisfaction from this,” said Saracens halfback Richard Wigglesworth.
“We could easily have lost our heads being so dominant and not scoring but we didn’t. We want to keep building but we’ve put down a marker now.”
Saracens, now unbeaten in two full seasons in the competition, will now turn their attention to the double – they face Exeter away in the Premiership semi-finals next week.
Clermont, beaten by Toulon in the 2013 and 2015 finals, will have to regather for another assault on the French championship, where they currently lie second.
“We gave it our all out there – we might have left it a bit late in the first half to start playing but we had a good fightback in the second half and we’re proud of that effort,” Clermont fullback Scott Spedding said.
“We are absolutely gutted. We don’t know what we’re missing but hopefully one day it turns our way.”