Jan 17, 2014
Saracens vs Connacht - Preview
It is being billed as D-Day at Allianz Park this Saturday, as Saracens need to beat visitors Connacht to qualify for the Heineken Cup quarter-finalstages for the third consecutive season.
Here, Henry Fraser previews Saracens opponents;
- Form guide, won 2, lost 10.
It's very hard to predict Connacht as their Rabo form is a huge contrast to their European results.
They currently sit bottom of the league behind the team sitting last in their European group, Zebre. Where Zebre have been struggling for wins in the league and Europe, Connacht have won more games in their group (3/5) than in the league (2/12).
Their Rabo stats leave a lot to be desired with the leagues second worst defence and the fewest points scored out of any team. However they seem to live for the Heineken Cup.
They don't score many tries away from, but when they do they like to score the majority in the first and final quarter. It's important Sarries defence holds tight the whole way through. A strong start would also be key as an early lead could be the decider come the final whistle.
After a slow start against Sarries in the opening game they fought their way back into the match and pushed them right to the end earning a losing bonus point that could, come Saturday, prove to be crucial. They have showed their worth at home in the rest of the pool.
Often not known for their away performances, they shocked the whole competition with an away win over the four time champions, Toulouse (their only home loss of the season). That win has teed up this weekend match with everything to play for, both teams need a big win.
A bonus point win for Connacht could send them into quarter finals of the Heineken Cup, but just winning will book them a place in the knock out stages of the Amlin Cup. Sarries must win to guarantee themselves a quarter final slot.
With both teams going out to win it, we could be in for a great game.
Connacht have worked hard this season and deserve credit for what they have achieved. They have made themselves a tough team to beat and ever improving.
- 11/10/13 Connacht 17 - 23 Saracens
Players to watch
- Robbie Henshaw - He is only a young man but many, especially in Ireland, see him as a big future star. He has even been spoken about as the successor to Brian O'Driscoll, so clearly there is something special about this young man. At the age of twenty he already has great size for a centre and the skills to match. His European inexperience could prove to be a problem in such a big game, but his youthful exuberance and rugby ability could prove to be a big factor in the match.