Jan 14, 2016
Saracens v Ulster Match Preview
First faces second as European rugby returns to Allianz Park this weekend in this Pool One clash between Saracens and Ulster.
Saracens face Ulster for the eighth time in their European Cup history on Saturday, with the North London side having recorded victories over their Irish counterparts on six of their previous seven meetings.
Ulster however make the trip to North London in good form, having won four of their last five games. Their European results have been particularly impressive. A memorable come back from 23-0 down against Oyonnax last weekend kept the Ulstermen second in the pool, six points behind Sarries, while a five try 38-0 home victory against French powerhouses Toulouse represented undoubtedly one of their finest European wins.
Speaking ahead of the game Mark McCall underlined the challenge Saracens are expecting when Ulster arrive at Allianz Park. “[They] have players all over the field who are capable of winning games on both the domestic and international stage. In the past few seasons Ulster have always been tough opponents for us, and they have made some real strides under Les Kiss in the last four or five weeks. Earlier this season they provided us with a really difficult game at the Kingspan Stadium and we are expecting the same again this Saturday.”
Ulster are the top tacklers in the European competition this season, having registered a total of 552. Their top tackler is lock Franco van der Merwe with 47.
Saracens top the points tally in this year’s Champions Cup having scored 159 in their four outings, averaging 39 points a game.
In all previous clashes between the two sides Saracens have scored a total of 175 points while Ulster have recorded 107.
Saracens have faced Irish sides 18 times in their European history and have met all four Irish provinces at some point in the group stages of the competition.
Both Ulster and Saracens come into Saturday’s game having won their last three Champions Cup fixtures.
Saracens and Ulster previously met in the pool stages of a European competition in the 2000/01 and the 2005/06 seasons. Their meetings since then have been in the knock out stages of the competition.