Richard Hill goes out a winner as Ratuvou's last-gasp try gives Saracens victory over Bristol

Last updated at 17:40 10 May 2008

World Cup winner Richard Hill headed into retirement with a victory on his

288th and final appearance for Saracens.

But it took a last-minute try from left-wing Kameli Ratuvou to secure today's

victory over Bristol on the final day of the regular season in the Guinness


Flanker Hill - a key player in England's 2003 triumphant campaign in Australia

- received a tremendous ovation from the fans.

But it looked as though the 34-year-old's farewell was going to be ruined by

Bristol's powerful 19-year-old centre Luke Eves, who struck with two tries as

the visitors led 20-18 going into the final minute.

But Ratuvou outstripped the visiting defence to race over in the left-hand

corner for the last-gasp winning try.

Fly-half Alex Goode, making his debut, converted with the final kick of the

match to complete a 10-point contribution, with two penalties and two


The other Saracens tries came from full-back Richard Haughton and right-wing

Noah Cato, Goode's England Under-20 team-mate, who marked his second start with

his second try for the club after scoring on his debut against Leeds in


Bristol replied with the two tries from Eves and 10 points from the boot of

fly-half Ed Barnes, who demonstrated his determination not to surrender his

place to new signing Adrian Jarvis, who will join the west country club from

Harlequins in the summer.

Saracens built up a 15-3 lead in the opening 17 minutes but Bristol dug in and

fought back to give their opponents a close run in their first match at Milton

Keynes after Watford's involvement in the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs

caused the game to be switched from Vicarage Road.

But Saracens finally turned the tables to make sure it was also a winning

goodbye to Hill's back-row colleague Paul Gustard, who is also retiring, and

director of rugby Alan Gaffney, who will be replaced by former Australia coach

Eddie Jones next season, although he will stay involved in a consultancy role.

After Goode kicked Saracens into a first-minute lead with his opening penalty,

Haughton underlined his growing claims for a place on England's summer tour to

New Zealand with a brilliant solo try 10 minutes later.

Showing a stunning turn of pace, he accelerated through the Bristol defence to

touch down near the post.

Haughton was also involved in Saracens' second try in the 17th minute.

The hosts capitalised on a drive by scrum-half Neil de Kock to move the ball

wide, where Haughton provided the final pass for Cato to dive over in the

right-hand corner.

But Bristol refused to lie down and struck back in the 24th minute when winger

David Lemi rounded De Kock and Cato in a run down the left touchline before

passing inside to send Eves in.

With Barnes adding the conversion and two second half penalties, Bristol

reduced the arrears to two points by the interval.

They went ahead for the first time in the 52nd minute when Barnes broke through

the defence to send Eves bursting through for his second try.

Goode cut the Bristol lead to two points with his second penalty in the 68th

minute but Saracens had to wait until their final attack for Ratuvou's try,

which secured victory and sent England and Lions legend Hill off on his

victorious final lap of honour.

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now