With everything to play for in Round 6 of the Champions Cup this weekend, we’ve taken a look back at the story of Pool 2 so far.
Northampton Saints 13 Saracens 57
- Saracens kicked off their campaign in style with a 57-13 win over Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens.
- Northampton took the lead from the boot of Steve Myler but Liam Williams weaved in and out of two defenders to put Saracens back in front after 11 minutes.
- The Champions Cup holders ran in three more tries in a dominant first half display, leading by 23 at the interval and securing an attacking bonus point.
- Despite some strong defending from Northampton, Saracens were able to find holes in the Saints' line and scored a fabulous try when Owen Farrell exchanged passes with Alex Lozowski, allowing the latter to go over under the posts.
- Northampton would score another try through Mikey Haywood, but Saracens were out of sight as they ran in four second half tries to match the four in the first.
Ospreys 21 Clermont Auvergne 26
- Clermont got off to a sizzling start when Alivereti Raka barged through two tackles to score, before some slack Ospreys defending was exposed by Camille Lopez, who offloaded for Scott Spedding to ease over the line.
- Rhys Webb's score reduced arrears, but the unerring boot of skipper Morgan Parra - on his 200th appearance for Clermont - was to prove decisive. He slotted two penalties before half time, then another just after to extend the visitors' lead to 23-7.
- Two Dan Evans tries reduced the deficit to just two points with five minutes to go, but Clermont resisted the home side's pressure gallantly, and a brilliant penalty from behind the halfway line by Spedding late on sealed it.
- Ospreys enjoyed 70% possession, but were unable to convert their opportunities when it mattered.
- In converting Ospreys' second try, Dan Biggar passed the 500 points mark in European competition, becoming the third Welshman to do so after Stephen Jones and Neil Jenkins
Clermont Auvergne 24 Northampton Saints 7
- Clermont Auvergne secured a 24-7 bonus point victory but were made to work hard by Northampton Saints at Stade Marcel-Michelin.
- With six minutes gone, Fritz Lee scored the first try of the match after an excellent driving Clermont scrum.
- Dylan Hartley received a yellow card after 30 minutes and Clermont took full advantage when Charlie Cassang found a gap in the Northampton line to score on half-time.
- Cassang then scored a minute into the second half when he won a high ball inside his own half and sprinted away to put Clermont 19 points ahead.
- Christian Day gave Northampton a lifeline with an excellent try, but any hopes of a comeback were extinguished when Etienne Falgoux went over with 15 minutes to play.
Saracens 36 Ospreys 34
- Saracens maintained their unbeaten two year run with a 36-34 bonus point win over an injury ravaged Ospreys but were made to battle at a windy Allianz Park.
- Chris Wyles gave Saracens the lead but Ospreys hit back with a pair of Dan Evans tries, putting the his side ahead by seven.
- Dan Biggar kicked a penalty to put Ospreys 10 points ahead, but a Schalk Brits try got Saracens back on level terms at half-time.
- Biggar again nudged Ospreys ahead, but Evans was penalised for a deliberate knock-on and the referee awarded Saracens a penalty try.
- Liam Williams and Owen Watkin exchanged tries before Nick Tompkins scored to put Saracens nine in front.
- Sam Cross scored in the corner for Ospreys with two minutes left to give the Welsh side a pair of valuable bonus points.
Northampton Saints 32 Ospreys 43
- Ospreys collected their first European Rugby Champions Cup win of the campaign with a 43-32 success over Northampton Saints at Franklin's Gardens in an enthralling showdown.
- The Anglo-Welsh encounter saw 11 tries exchanged and at 43-8 Ospreys would have thought they were home and dry, yet a rousing Northampton Saints fightback saw them come close to completing what would have been a historic comeback.
- Northampton Saints fly-half Stephen Myler broke the deadlock on 17 minutes with a penalty, before his opposite number Sam Davies hit back with a three-pointer of his own
- Full-back Dan Evans crossed the whitewash for the first try on match on 26 minutes and scrum-half Tom Habberfield's try, complete with Davies' conversion, ensured the visitors went into the break with a comfortable 17-3 lead in the Midlands.
- Shortly after the restart Jeff Hassler made amends for his first-half sin-binning with a well-worked try, before centre Kieron Fonotia's try pushed the Welsh region's advantage to 31-3.
- England captain Dylan Hartley attempted to kickstart a Northampton Saints comeback, but Evans and Hassler completing their braces of tries stretched the Ospreys lead to 38 points.
- Northampton Saints scrum-half Nic Groom slipped through for their second try of the match just after the hour, before the back trio of Rob Horne, Ahsee Tuala and Harry Mallinder all crossed over the course of five minutes as the Franklin's Gardens faithful roared the hosts on in a spirited comeback effort.
- As tensions mounted Mallinder and Rob McCusker were both sin-binned reducing both sides to 14 men for the final eight minutes and Ospreys were down to 13 when winger Hanno Dirksen was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle in the 78th minute.
Saracens 14 Clermont Auvergne 46
- Clermont Auvergne winger Alivereti Raka scored a hat-trick of tries as the French side avenged their defeat by Saracens in last season's European Rugby Champions Cup final
- The defeat was Saracens' heaviest ever in European competition and their sixth in succession in all competitions.
- Clermont's win ended the holders' 20-match unbeaten run in the Champions Cup and lifted them to the top of the Pool, four points clear of the English club.
- Raka's hat-trick came inside 13 first-half minutes and he also created the try of the match with a superb run from one 22 to the other before offloading for substitute lock Flip van der Merwe to score Clermont's bonus-point try.
- Raka's heroics were supplemented by an impeccable goalkicking performance from skipper Morgan Parra, who landed seven kicks - five conversions and two penalties - from seven attempts.
- Clermont's other tries came from centre Wesley Fofana and fly-half Isaiah Toeava as Saracens missed an astonishing 37 tackles.
- Saracens pulled the score back to 21-7 just before half-time with a penalty try, which also saw Clermont No.8 Fritz Lee yellow-carded, but their only other points came from a late George Kruis try converted by Owen Farrell.
Ospreys 32 Northampton Saints 15
- The Ospreys claimed second place in Champions Cup Pool 2 with their second bonus-point win in a week over Northampton Saints.
- Rhys Webb scored two tries and there was one apiece from Dmitri Arhip and Justin Tipuric as the Welsh region went two points ahead of Saracens, who went down 24-21 at leaders Clermont Auvergne.
- It was the prop Arhip who gave the hosts a blistering start, finishing off in the corner after Tom Habberfield's thrilling run.
- Harry Mallinder scuppered a great chance for a quick reply with a delayed final pass and two Sam Davies penalty gave Ospreys an 11-0 lead after a rather scrappy first half.
- There was hope for Saints after a difficult week when Piers Francis' cross-kick was knocked down by Ashee Tuala and Mallinder curled himself into a ball to avoid touch on his way over the line.
- A Francis penalty then reduced arrears to 11-8, but Ospreys then turned up the heat, replacement Webb touching down, before a lovely move was finished off by Tipuric.
- Webb grabbed his second, and the bonus point, soon afterwards. A Reece Marshall close-range try in injury time barely raised a smile from the men in green.
Clermont Auvergne 24 Saracens 21
- Scott Spedding's last-gasp kick condemned Saracens to their seventh successive defeat and their second inside six days to ASM Clermont Auvergne.
- The defending champions looked set to bounce back from Monday's chastening 46-14 defeat at Allianz Park as they took a 13-0 lead through two Owen Farrell kicks and a try by scrum-half Ben Spencer after he accelerated away from a ruck.
- However, Morgan Parra gradually whittled that lead away with three penalties, capitalising on Sarries' indiscipline at the breakdown. A Scott Spedding kick from distance just before the break reduced the deficit to 13-12.
- Will Skelton was sin-binned for persistent infringing before half-time and two more Parra penalties put Clermont ahead after the re-start.
- However, Clermont replacement Nick Abendanon was yellow carded after half-time, during which time Alex Lozowski cut inside to touch down for Sarries.
- Juan Figallo then went in the bin for the English side and with 14 men they defended stoutly until Parra restored parity at 21-21 with his sixth penalty, then Spedding kept his nerve with a kick from distance to win it with a minute to go.
Northampton Saints 34 Clermont Auvergne 21
- Northampton Saints blew Pool 2 of the European Rugby Champions Cup wide open with their first victory of the competition, defeating leaders Clermont Auvergne 34-21 in a pulsating continental clash at Franklin's Gardens.
- Remy Grosso's second-minute try ensured a flying start for ASM Clermont Auvergne, but Northampton Saints offered a swift riposte as Teimana Harrison crashed over the whitewash to bring the hosts back within two points of the French giants, only for Isaia Toeava to race home and push the visitors to a 12-5 lead after 16 minutes.
- Replacement winger Nafi Tuitavake would cross in for Northampton Saints shortly after a Morgan Parra penalty to ensure the deficit was just five points at the interval, with many expecting the French side to return to dominate the second period.
- Yet hosts Northampton Saints would draw first blood after the break as Harry Mallinder slotted a penalty kick, only for Ben Foden to break away and score a sensational solo try, deserving of his Heineken Man of the Match merit come full time.
- French scrum-half Parra went on to add another two three-pointers as Clermont Auvergne regained the lead and the Midlands atmosphere began exceptionally tense, but Northampton Saints had the bit between their teeth and eyes firmly set on a first Champions Cup win of the season.
- Tries from Ken Pisi and Cobus Reinach saw the Saints go marching in style with a shock victory.
Ospreys 15 Saracens 15
- Owen Farrell and Dan Biggar kicked Saracens and Ospreys to a 15-15 stalemate in an attritional affair at the Liberty Stadium
- Northampton Saints' shock triumph over Pool 2 leaders Clermont Auvergne earlier in the afternoon placed an added incentive on this crunch clash, but neither side were able to prevail, meaning Clermont retain a four-point lead at the summit with one round left to play before the knockout stages.
- Early pressure paid dividends for Saracens in the Welsh capital as Farrell nudged the visitors into a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter courtesy of Ospreys' indiscipline.
- Ospreys had a prime opportunity to seize the initiative when Rhys Webb released Ashley Beck deep into Saracens territory, only for the hosts to squander possession as Rob McCusker was unable to hold the centre’s inside pass.
- Farrell went on to trade more penalty kicks with opposite number and Wales fly-half Dan Biggar as Saracens carried a slender 9-6 lead into the break.
- In a bruising encounter both sides began emptying their benches and Biggar levelled the scores at 9-9 with his third three-pointer of the evening, only for Farrell to nudge the visitors back ahead.
- In slotting a fourth penalty, Farrell surpassed Argentine Diego Dominguez to move fourth in the all-time European points scorers charts with 647 to his name.
- Saracens' American winger Chris Wyles was sent to the sin bin on 66 minutes and Ospreys made the personnel advantage count as Biggar drew the sides level once more with eight minutes to play.
- England's playmaker extraordinaire Farrell thought he had the final say as he rounded his tally up to 650, but Biggar booted Ospreys to parity in the dying embers of the match.
- The Ospreys, who retain second place are four points adrift of ASM Clermont Auvergne, who host Ospreys at the Stade Marcel Michelin this Saturday, while Saracens face off with bottom side Northampton Saints at Allianz Park.