Oct 10, 2017
Saracens Embracing Tough Champions Cup Pool
In their first Champions Cup fixture of the season, Saracens face the daunting task of a road trip to Franklin’s Gardens to face their old rivals Northampton Saints.
Having opened the Premiership season with a 55-24 bonus point win over Northampton, Saracens look in good shape. However, Brad Barritt and company aren’t ones to let previous victories fool them into a sense of security going into Sunday’s crucial matchup.
Barritt said: “We’ve obviously had some great battles against Northampton in the past and this will be no different.
“They’re unbelievable at their home ground, with their home crowd behind them, but that’s a challenge we relish.”
Director of rugby Mark McCall also added: “We know each other probably a little bit better than we do the other two opponents.
“They’re really a good team.”
The game marks the start of Saracens’ second straight Champions Cup defence, and the first challenge along a tough route back to the top.
Drawn in Pool 2, Saracens face Northampton, as well as last year’s final opponents Clermont, and Welsh giants Ospreys.
As ever though, Saracens are embracing the challenge. Barritt said: “There’s never really going to be an easy pool. You’re always going to be faced with tough opposition. To proceed to the final, you’ve got to beat the best along the way.
“Clermont are a fantastic team and one we have the utmost respect for. So are Northampton and so are the Ospreys; it’s a really tough pool.”
McCall is also wary of how difficult the competition can be. He said: “It may be one of the hardest pools we’ve been in for a long time.”
He went on to discuss how important the Champions Cup has been to Saracens in recent years. Saying how battling hard in the pools and going on to perform well in the knock-out stages has helped the team gain experience on the biggest stage.
He added: “It’s certainly a competition that the players get tremendously excited about and look forward to.”
Northampton Saints vs Saracens (kick-off 17H30) will be broadcast live on BT Sport. And make sure you get your tickets in time for Saracens Champions Cup return to Allianz Park, as they take on Ospreys on Saturday 21st October (kick-off 19H45).