Saracens captain Steve Borthwick and Matt Stevens praised their side’s resilience and adaptability after Saracens reached the Heineken Cup semi-finals after beating Ulster 27-16 at Twickenham.
Prop Stevens paid tribute to his front-row colleagues for their second half turnaround at the scrum.
He said: “Ulster were very good in the first half, and it was something that we chatted about at half time. I thought after that we produced a very good second half performance. Ulster have some tough scrummagers and they really put us to the test and I’m happy that boys had enough composure at the scrum to iron out a few issues we had.”
Captain Borthwick explained that the team’s ability to learn and adapt to situations helped see them through against the Irish province to set up the last four clash against Toulon at Twickenham on April 28.
He said: “One of the strengths we have as a group is learning from our mistakes. We are always looking for continual improvement and it is not just in the Heineken Cup, but in everything we do. In the first half it didn’t go particularly to plan in the scrum, but it’s great credit to the guys who identified the problem, came up with a strategy to fix it, and ultimately went out in the second half and delivered. This group learns and adapts to get better very quickly, and this was just another example of that.
“In big games, it’s always the tiny little margins that you have to fight for and they have a huge significance. The scrum was one of them. Around the breakdown and the pressure we put on Ulster in terms of our kicking game and how we pressurised them are all examples of the little battles that add up to winning a game. The guys worked incredibly hard to win those battles all over the park, and although it might not have been that obvious to some sat in the stands, we can see our teammates working exceptionally hard for each other – that’s one of our great strengths as a team.”