Apr 03, 2015
Racing Metro vs Saracens - Preview
Saracens travel to Paris to take on Top 14 side Racing Metro in the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup this Sunday.
After the LV= Cup success and the thrashing of Harlequins at Wembley, Saracens seem to be hitting top form just at the right time.
Saracens are unbeaten in their last five matches and have only lost one game in their last nine.
The win against Harlequins saw the team move up into second place in the Premiership, but it’s all eyes on Racing Metro this weekend.
With no new injuries to report and with Owen Farrell, Schalk Brits and Brad Barritt all not too far away from full fitness, Saracens are in a strong position for the tail-end of the season.
Racing Metro ground out an impressive 12-6 win at Bayonne on a wet and windy Friday evening in their last outing. The victory kept Racing fourth in the Top 14 standings, six points behind leaders Toulon and Clermont, but provisionally ahead of Stade Francais, who also have 55 points.
The French side were the only unbeaten club in the pool stages, coming out of their group with Northampton Saints, the Ospreys and Benetton Treviso with 24 points thanks to five wins and just one draw.
We are in very good spirits at the moment," said McCall. "To have won our last five in a row is very pleasing. We have watched Racing a lot over the last week, especially their win at Franklin's Gardens, and they were very good that day.
"They have got superb half backs and a big forward pack, but we have been buoyed by our recent results."
“I think we’ve got the two best finishers in England,” McCall said. “We’ve only got to give them half an opportunity – or in Ashton’s case at the weekend hardly any opportunity at all. They’re both on top of their game.”
Billy Vunipola gave an insight into the knock-out stages in European rugby: “Once you get to the quarter-finals, it tends to get very physical, especially against the French sides, with their bigger players and more strength in depth. It’s just the way finals rugby is, you tend to tuck it under the arm, and just smash it up. Frankly it becomes a war. But that’s something we enjoy, and it’s something that we know Racing can do very comfortably.”
"We're playing a big team, who are very strong up front and have a lot quality in the backs," said Racing Metro centre Alexandre Dumoulin.
"They were in the European Cup Final last year and we expect a great duel. We will try to give everything we've got in front of our fans and hopefully we'll get the win."
(4 games played) Saracens 3 wins | Racing Metro 1 win
Saracens 7 | Racing Metro 8
Saracens 107 | Racing Metro 79
Men to Watch
The USA international has been in superb form this season, scoring eight tries so far. Wyles grabbed a brace at Wembley last weekend and has scored in Saracens’ last two games against Racing Metro. He’s got the form and he’s got the record against Metro, will he make the difference in Paris?
The Saracens hooker has made 77 tackles in the European Champions Cup so far this season, the second most of any player in the competition. George nailed every line-out against Harlequins on Saturday and his been one of Saracens most consistent performers this season. The hooker faces a stern contest in Paris, as seasoned French international Dimitri Szarzewski is his opposite number.
Racing Metro have a very dangerous Argentinian winger/full back in Juan Imhoff. The Racing speedster has made the most clean breaks out of any player in the tournament so far, 13. Saracens will need to make sure they don’t give Imhoff time and space, because he’s shown this year he is fully capable of scything through defences.