Saracens 28 Clermont Auvergne 17: Ashton signs off in style as Sarries enhance status as continent’s best

Chris Ashton dives over the tryline to score Saracens first try of the Champions Cup final.
Chris Ashton dives over the tryline to score Saracens first try of the Champions Cup final.
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Toulon-bound Chris Ashton confessed he felt a tinge of sadness despite helping Saracens lift the European Champions Cup for the second year in a row.

The former England wing will call time on his five-year stint with the Londoners this summer and make the move to France.

But he ensured he will depart with yet another winners’ medal after putting his side ahead at Murrayfield as Sarries overcame Clermont Auvergne 28-17.

His touchdown was his 37th Champions Cup score and set a new record try tally for Europe’s premier club competition.

But while the victory sparked wild celebrations among his team-mates, the 30-year-old was left in a reflective mood.

“I’m going to miss it,” said Ashton, who could yet sign off with a third straight Aviva Premiership title over the next two weeks.

“I’ve had five amazing years here. Some of it on my part has been life-changing. I’ve had unbelievable highs and definitely some lows along there.

“The support I’ve had from the players and the coaching staff has been phenomenal, so it will be a sad day when I do leave.

“It was nice to do something on a high today. However, lives change and opportunities arise and it’s my time to move on.”

The final was billed as the classic match-up of the immovable object that is Sarries against Clermont’s unstoppable forces. Yet for much of the first half the Top 14 giants were left creaking as Mark McCall’s side popped the ball about with effortless, flawless ease.

They were rewarded with scores from Ashton and George Kruis but eventually Clermont caught their breath, hitting back through Remi Lamerat before half-time.

And it appeared for a spell that Saracens’ relentless drive for glory was about to come to a shuddering halt when their opponents drew themselves within a point after a sensational length-of-the-field run by Peceli Yato set up Nick Abendanon to score. But the English champions clung on to the continental title when Alex Goode dived over.