Sport Rugby

Thursday 18 January 2018

Saracens vulnerable if you take them on up front -- McFarland

Dan McFarland
Dan McFarland

Declan Rooney

Connacht forwards coach Dan McFarland believes his pack can deliver again this weekend away to English Premiership leaders Saracens -- the same way they stunned Toulouse in France.

He is looking to his pack to put in a defensive performance to match that remarkable victory in December, even though he knows the stakes are even higher at this stage, with a Heineken Cup quarter-final up for grabs.

McFarland is confident his pack are a match for Saracens.

"There is no doubt the same kinds of things will be thrown at us. Toulouse are a little bit bigger than Saracens, but the issues are the same. Big ball-carriers, big scrum, big maul. So that same kind of attitude and approach will certainly be necessary," he said.

"We are proud of how we approach things in the pack and we have matched up in that area in all our Heineken Cup games so far.

"Toulouse showed if you can take Saracens on in those physical areas then you have a chance of beating them. Northampton have done the same to them over the last while.

McFarland has spotted some attacking improvements that Mark McCall has brought to Saracens' game recently.

"They're scoring a lot of tries and playing some really good rugby, but at the heart of their play is a very physical and direct approach," he said. "They look to control games with their scrum, driving maul and line-out work.

"We may not be as consistent as other teams, but it's pretty exciting. Consistency will come because they are young fellas, but when the ball is in their hands, they are exciting, I want to watch it. I really want to watch it."

Irish Independent

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