Friday 9 December 2016

McCall expects Clermont response

Published 18/04/2015 | 02:30

Saracens boss Mark McCall has voiced his admiration for French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne ahead of today’s Champions Cup semi-final showdown in St Etienne
Saracens boss Mark McCall has voiced his admiration for French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne ahead of today’s Champions Cup semi-final showdown in St Etienne

Saracens boss Mark McCall has voiced his admiration for French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne ahead of today's Champions Cup semi-final showdown in St Etienne.

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Saracens humbled Clermont 46-6 at the same stage last season but their opponents' quarter-final demolition of Northampton two weeks ago suggests former Ulster coach McCall's men are up against it.

"It's going to be a tough game for us, we understand that," rugby director McCall said. "As a club, we admire them as much as anybody because they keep coming back for more.

"We always say we just want to give ourselves a chance of winning every competition, and they do that year in, year out. They respond to big setbacks remarkably well."

Owen Farrell returns to Saracens' match-day 23 for the first time since he suffered a knee injury three months ago. Injury sidelines skipper Alastair Hargreaves, so Jim Hamilton replaces him at lock and Brad Barritt takes over captaincy duties.

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