Next LIVE rugby on TV
to be announced
Wed, 31 Jul 2013 14:30:05 +0000
  • Switch Edition
ESPN SCRUM / Heineken Cup 2013-14 / News
Follow@ESPNSCRUM
Heineken Cup
Saracens won't be bullied for a second time
ESPN Staff
April 23, 2014
Saracens' Rhys Gill and Clermont's David Zirakashvili get to know each other, Saracens v Clermont Auvergne, Heineken Cup, Vicarage Road, London, April 8, 2012
Saracens came off second best when the two sides met in the Heineken Cup in 2012 © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links

There will be no repeat of the drubbing Saracens suffered when they met Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup two seasons ago, insists director of rugby Mark McCall. That match, he said, was a watershed for the club and when the sides meet at Twickenham this weekend it will be an altogether different contest.

In the quarter-final clash in 2012 Clermont romped to a 22-3 victory, leading to a complete rethink within Saracens as to the way forward. So they decided to go big.

"We would hold our hands up and say that day two years ago was a little bit men against boys, but it's not going to be like that this weekend," McCall said. "We were a bit lightweight, fighting against people who were more powerful, more explosive, bigger. But we changed a lot after that.

"We changed the way we went about things in the strength and conditioning department, changed the people that we had here and changed our recruitment policy.

"When we first came, we set out to be the fittest team around. Take someone like Will Fraser [a flanker]. He was 99kg and as brave and tough as they come, yet he was playing against people 10kg heavier. So we changed things. Now Will is 108kg. It's not just weight he's put on; it's the right kind of weight. He is more powerful, more explosive, quicker. He is a better rugby player."

He said the key signing since the 2012 game was Philip Morrow, who had been looking after the fitness with Ireland. "He changed everything from top to bottom from the performance side of things."

As for Clermont, McCall said they were not invincible. "You would have thought that they have been the best squad and the best team in Europe for a long time and yet they haven't won the Heineken Cup and have only won the Top 14 once.

"We know how difficult it is to win things but we've got ourselves into a cracking situation and need to take advantage of it. Just to get to the semi-finals for this group of players is not enough any more. We need to kick on and win something."

"We know what we are up against but we think we can go one better," McCall said. "We're playing better, our game has evolved, we have players in form and we're going into the game with much more confidence than last year's semi-final, when I think that we were a little bit happy to be there."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - United States GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Tennis - Swiss Indoors
    Tennis - Valencia Open
    Tennis - WTA World Tour Finals
    Golf - Perth International
    Golf - McGadrey Classic
    Darts - European Championship
    Boxing - Zolani Tete v Paul Butler
    UFC 179
  • Rugby

    Toulouse edge past Bath

    Toulouse beat a spirited Bath side 21-19 at the Recreation Ground on Saturday

  • Rugby

    Glasgow grind out win in Montpellier

    Gregor Townsend and his Glasgow Warriors took a giant leap towards the Champions Cup quarter-finals with a 15-13 triumph at his former club Montpellier

  • Rugby

    North's four downs Ospreys

    George North's quartet of tries reinvigorated Northampton's European campaign, but the 34-6 victory over the Ospreys came at a cost with England centre Luther Burrell departing early through injury

  • Football

    Leeds sack Milanic after just six games

    Leeds' managerial circus returned on Saturday evening as owner Massimo Cellino parted company with Darko Milanic after just 32 days in charge

  • Tennis

    Federer to meet Goffin in Basel showdown

    Top-seeded Roger Federer beat big-serving Ivo Karlovic 7-6(8) 3-6 6-3 to reach a ninth consecutive Swiss Indoors final and his 11th overall in his hometown of Basel

Sponsored Links
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!