May 12, 2016
Billy: Lyon Final 'massively exciting'
Number 8 Billy Vunipola believes his side are prepared for the challenge of a European Champions Cup final as Saracens take on Racing 92 in Lyon on Saturday.
The North London club find themselves with a shot at redemption having fallen short at the hands of Toulon at the final hurdle in 2014. However two years on, Vunipola is adamant that this side are now ready to achieve European glory.
“I think it is massively exciting without thinking about two years ago” said Vunipola. “I think we are really lucky to be in finals and we all appreciate the stage that we are at now. I also think it has taken a lot of hard work to get here and I think it is testament to all the hard work the boys have put in, the coaches and everyone else.
“But like I said we are not really thinking about two years ago, that’s done and dusted we have learned from that I feel and we look forward to the challenge that lies ahead on Saturday.”
“I think we just feel more ready right now. We topped the seedings coming into the knockout stages, which we’ve never really done before I don’t think and also we have just managed to carry on winning. I think it is credit to the boys for having that mind set just to keep moving forward.”
Standing in their way are Racing 92, a side full to the brim with talent from around the globe, headlined by 2015 World player of the year Dan Carter.
However, while the eyes of the on-watching neutrals will be glued to Carter, Vunipola is all too aware that with the calibre of player the Parisian team boasts they are far from a one-man team.
“I think for me, we try and stick to our game plan, try and stick to the tactics that we have, obviously I’m not going to tell you what they are but he’s obviously a big cog in their framework and for us its trying to nullify him but also the other many threats that they have.
“They’ve got [Chris] Masoe, they’ve got [Juan] Imhoff, they’ve got [Joe] Rockococo and also I think a key player for them is [Maxime] Machenaud. He is a tough little player and he’s already said that they are coming out for revenge so just a word of warning for the boys to look out.
“I think we have played against the majority of those players and for us its not trying to play up the occasion, its hard but we’ve got to try and do what we have done all year and have fun.
“I think you could see it in that Wasps game, how much we enjoy defending and playing for each other and I hope we have the same this weekend and I’m sure we will be fine.”
Watch: Billy speaks to Sarries TV