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Brad Barritt: Saracens can’t be complacent in Champions Cup defence

Saracens might be the holders of the European Rugby Champions Cup, but Brad Barritt insists they won’t be taking it lightly heading into this season’s competition.

Last May, Barritt captained Saracens to a 21-9 victory over Racing 92 in Lyon to lead the club to their first-ever European title.

It added to a memorable season for Saracens who also claimed a second successive Aviva Premiership Rugby title last term with a showpiece victory over Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.

But if Saracens’ rivals are hoping that last season’s heroics have sated the appetite at Allianz Park, then British & Irish Lion Barritt has bad news for the rest of Europe.

“There are no easy games and you are by no means assured of a place in the group stages,” Barritt said. “You have to fight for every win and for every point.

“The competition starts for us in Toulon which will be a huge battle and one we are looking forward to, but each and every game is as equally important and you have to put yourself into that best position to enable yourself to have a chance at the end.

“The pleasing thing last year was that as the campaign grew, the confidence grew.

“We started off the tournament brilliantly in terms of a big home win against Toulouse, backed that up the following week in Ulster.

“And then the momentum grew and the confidence grew, we knew we had been to similar stages in the previous years and there was a feeling that we knew we had the ability but it was about executing on the day to make sure we went through and took the trophy.”

Saracens find themselves in a European Rugby Champions Cup pool with Toulon, Scarlets and fellow Aviva Premiership Rugby outfit Sale Sharks this season.

And as attentions turn to Saturday’s opener at Toulon’s Stade Mayol, Barritt insists the happy memories of last year’s showpiece in France will see them hit the ground running this weekend.

“The final was as much an away game as we could have be playing in a neutral venue. Playing away in France I just remember there being a great atmosphere,” he added.

“In terms of the game, it tends to end up being a bit of a blur, but those special memories you have after the game with your team-mates and with the entire organisation were fantastic and ones that will live on with us forever.”

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is the organiser of the European Rugby Champions Cup, the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition.

Follow all the excitement of another thrilling season of European action at www.epcrugby.com

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