Saturday 24 February 2018

Conor Murray absence doesn't alter our approach - Saracens boss Mark McCall

Munster's Conor Murray. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster's Conor Murray. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Saracens coach Mark McCall says that the absence of Conor Murray won’t alter the champions’ approach for tomorrow’s sold-out Aviva Champions Cup semi-final tie against two-time winners Munster.

The former Ulster coach had confidently predicted during the week that he expected the injured Lions star to play, despite all evidence to the contrary, but expects Duncan Williams to be more than an adequate replacement.

“Our preparation was for either scenario. The thing about Duncan Williams is that he's phenomenally experienced. People think he's not, but he is.

“He's 31, 32, years old, got a hundred and something caps for Munster. He had a really strong game against Toulouse and he's actually got a very strong kicking game.

"Man and ball is a big strength, their kicking game's good, their kick chase is good. You've said their defence.

“I think the exceptional thing is how hard they work. Of all the teams we've analysed this year, I don't think there's a team who work as hard and fight for each other the way they do, which is why they come out the right end of a lot of results this year."

McCall says his side are ready for the red wave of Munster support who will dominate the capacity 50,000 attendance.

"Obviously, they are going to be well-supported. It's going to be a tremendous atmosphere. We've said in the week that we've played a lot of these occasions and we've got some experience in the bank.

“But I think the truth is tomorrow that experience eventually doesn't count unless we produce during the 80 minutes and we'll get what we deserve tomorrow.

“Ut's part of the culture of the team. Our mentality is that we don't pick and choose. That extends to whether we are playing a 'lower' (ranked) team away or we are playing a 'big' team away. We prepare the same for every team, we give them the same respect.

 "I think it probably stemmed back from our early days at Vicarage Road when, to be honest, we didn't have much of an atmosphere or crowd to support us, so we always thrive on going to these big occasions in front of hostile crowds and savouring the moment.

“Tomorrow is going to be one I'm sure we will remember for a long time."

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