Saracens Not Concerned with Securing a Home Semi-Final

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From Last Word on Rugby, by Steve Kendall

Ahead of the final round of the Aviva Premiership which was previewed by James Barker earlier in the week, the various teams have been announced for the simultaneous kick-offs this Saturday. It seems, from the changes made by the Champions, that Saracens are not concerned with securing a home semi-final.

Mark McCall has rung the changes, with only one of his six Lions remaining in the starting line-up and only one more on the bench. George Kruis is the tourist starting at The Ricoh, with Jamie George on the bench. Schalk Brits captains the side that shows the coaching staff have one eye on the European Champions Cup final next weekend; whilst knowing they have the squad to compete with the current leaders.


Farrell Left Out

There is no place for Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje, Chris Ashton or usual skipper; Brad Barritt. With only a win getting the men in black a semi at Allianz Park, it would indicate that it is not their ‘top priority’ to be playing that game in North London.

Alex Lozowski continues to run things at outside-half, while Ben Spencer starts his final game for the club. With Henry Taylor on the bench, it means Richard Wigglesworth gets the week off.

Recent evidence of their victory in Dublin against one of the form teams of Europe’s premier tournament, showed how the 2017 double-winners cope with away challenges–including hoards of opposing supporters out to put them off their game.

Couple this with impressive away wins earlier this season away against Toulon and at Sandy Park (albeit against a very different side to the current Exeter Chiefs). It indicates that they can go to the most inhospitable places and secure impressive results. This sends out quite a message to their prospective opponents in the post-season quartet and it will be interesting to see how the heir-apparent’s deal with this psychological stance.

Sure they would ideally want to be playing in front of their own fans once more before the potential trip to Twickenham, but the reality is that this Saracens side ‘can’ go anywhere and win, and most probably will.


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