Saracens reach Champions Cup quarters with win over Racing 92

Saracens kept their European Champions Cup hopes alive with a 27-24 win over Racing 92 on Saturday. Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

Defending champions Sarcacens secured a ninth-successive European Champions Cup quarterfinal spot with a crucial 27-24 win over Racing 92 at Allianz Park on Sunday, capping a tumultuous 24 hours at the club.

Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season for salary cap breaches, it was announced on Saturday.

The London club claimed a victory over Racing despite having 14 men for the entirety of the second half following back-row Will Skleton's red card on 40 minutes. Skelton had come on as a replacement for Billy Vunipola who suffered a suspected broken arm inside five minutes.

The result left Saracens in the final Champions Cup knockout stage qualification spot and will face Pool 1 winner Leinster.

Saracens will not be permitted to play in next season's Champions Cup, even if they retain its title, due to their second-tier league status next term. Only teams in the Premiership, PRO14 or France's Top 14 division are eligible to compete in the competition.

Saracens were deducted 35 points in this season's league table and fined £5.3 million in November after an independent disciplinary panel said the club failed to disclose player payments in each of the last three seasons.

The home side opened the scoring with two early tries from forwards Maro Itoje and Mako Vunipola before Racing hit back when Virimi Vakatawa scored the first of his two tries.

The two sides were locked at 24-24 when Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell successfully kicked a close-range penalty to secure victory.

Elsewhere in the tournament, Exeter Chiefs will take on Northampton Saints in an all-English quarterfinal tie, while Toulouse face Ulster and Clermont prepare for Racing.

The Champions Cup quarterfinals begin on April 3.