Heineken Cup: Saracens see off Ulster to reach the semi-finals
Last Updated: 06/04/13 9:22pm
Try-scorer Chris Ashton is congratulated by Brad Barritt and Joel Tomkins
Saracens completely dominated Ulster on their way to a 27-16 victory at Twickenham and a place in the Heineken Cup semi-finals.
It was an impressively controlled display from the Premiership leaders, based around solid defence and the boot of Owen Farrell, the England fly-half kicking six of his seven attempts at goal.
The finale was provided by a scintillating score from Chris Ashton in the closing stages, as the winger weaved his way over from 30 metres out.
It all added up to a miserable return to Twickenham for Ulster, who lost last years's final on this ground to Leinster and never looked likely to be back here for this year's semi-final.
Farrell nudged Saracens ahead inside two minutes after a break by Ashton, but Ruan Pienaar was unable to reply for Ulster, uncharacteristically missing from in front of the posts.
Pienaar wasted another chance before finally levelling for Ulster, but straight from the kick-off Paddy Jackson was isolated, conceded the penalty and up stepped Farrell.
Pienaar quickly replied but just past the half hour mark a crucial lineout went Saracens' way in the Ulster 22 - the ball looked to have come off Ernst Joubert - and Will Fraser was driven over by the subsequent rolling maul.
Farrell converted and added a late penalty for a handy 16-6 lead at the break.
Saracens' defence was superb and when Ulster finally made a break in the line through Craig Gilroy they did it illegally, a crossing penalty and another rolling maul setting up another Farrell three-pointer.
Pienaar cut the deficit but Farrell again punished Ulster from near halfway and just past the hour the game was safe, thanks to a moment of brilliance from two of Sarries' England contingent.
Chris Ashton arrived on a fine diagonal line, Brad Barritt slipped him the inside pass and the winger was away, ignoring calls from Barritt for a return pass and racing to the line.
Farrell missed his only kick of the night - the only one that didn't really matter - and although Iain Henderson got over for Ulster in the final minute, that merely put gloss on the scoreline that failed to reflect Saracens' dominance.