Fixtures - Top Bar

European Champions Cup Semi-Final Preview: Saracens v Wasps

It will be an All Aviva Premiership Rugby clash at the Madejski Stadium on Saturday and Ashley Johnson and Wasps know exactly what to expect from Saracens in their pivotal semi-final.

First in Aviva Premiership Rugby meets second in their European Champions Cup clash and they have already met twice in the league.

Sarries made off with an impressive win from the Ricoh just after Christmas but Wasps ran riot at the Allianz in the new year.

Wasps will contest their first semi-final since 2007 and their third overall, having gone on to lift the trophy on both occasions that they have reached this stage previously.

And Johnson admits familiarity will breed contempt on the weekend.

“We know a lot about Saracens having had some big battles with them over the past few years,” he said.

“Of course they have grown as a team but what they do is pretty straight forward, we know what to expect.

“We are not getting carried away with that result at Allianz Park in the same way that they will not be after beating us at the Ricoh.

“Of course a performance like that at Allianz means we can take a lot of confidence.

“The set-piece is going to be vital but especially against a team like Saracens.

“The line out is going to be very important, they have two quality second rows in George and Maro so it is going to be a real challenge.

“But when you get to a semi-final you know that every team is quality, it is going to be a massive challenge.”

Owen Farrell of Saracens is currently the tournament’s top scorer with 92 points, and the fly-half has been impressed by Wasps this year.  

“They’ve been very good” he said. “They’ve got some outstanding players, not just the guys we’ve played with England but some of the players that have come in this year as well.

"They’ve got threats all over the field and that shows when they play we’ve got to make sure that we’re on it this week and we’re in the game for the full 80 minutes.”

This clash will be the 20th knockout game for Saracens in the past six seasons and their third European semi-final in the past four.

“There has been a huge evolution in our European fixtures,” added Brad Barritt. 

“It has gone from qualifying to getting through the pool stages to quarter-finals to semi-finals to a final and, again, to a semi last year.

“We have definitely spoken about this season being our time. We have paid our dues, we have learnt our lessons. 

“By no means is it going to win you the game but we feel those experiences over the past four seasons are going to stand us in great stead in these big fixtures.

“There’s that sense and an understanding that we know what we are about. We know we can dig ourselves out of tight situations. The big learning curve throughout our European campaign is that you need to find ways to win. Often it is a different way to what you expect."
 

Latest News

Harlequins Ladies coach savours upcoming Women’s Super Rugby season

Women’s sport is booming according to former Richmond prop and Scotland captain Karen Findlay, who is now relishing the prospect…

Aviva Tackling Numbers programme celebrated at Corporate Engagement Awards

Premiership Rugby and its Aviva Tackling Numbers programme enjoyed not one but two moments in the spotlight at the Corporate…

Corporate Engagement Awards

Lions ready for battle on eve of All Blacks Test

After months of waiting and weeks of build-up, The British & Irish Lions are ready to face the toughest challenge…

Saracens and London Irish to kick off the season at Twickenham

SARACENS and London Irish will help launch the 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season after being chosen as the home sides for…

Ex-England star Susie Appleby excited to lead Gloucester-Hartpury in inaugural Women’s Super Rugby campaign

Former England international Susie Appleby believes it’s an exciting time for women’s rugby as she issues a rallying cry to…

Wasps confirm 2017/18 pre-season schedule

Wasps have today confirmed their 2017/18 pre-season schedule, which will see them face Connacht Rugby and Ulster Rugby, as well…

Wasps celebrate

Quartet sign Academy contracts with Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to confirm that Rhys Davies, Wil Partington, Miles Reid, and Kieran Verden have all signed long-term…

Todd Blackadder

Clare Daniels hoping to inspire the next generation of female rugby referees

The first female official in Aviva Premiership Rugby history, Clare Daniels, has urged girls and women to take up officiating…

Luke McLean enthused by London Irish move

Luke McLean is looking to reignite his international career under Italy Head Coach Conor O’Shea following his summer move to…

All Black Francis Saili joins Harlequins

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 21st June) that All Black Francis Saili has joined the Club. Commenting on…

Francis Saili

Bath Rugby sign Phillips from Bristol Rugby

Bath Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of James Phillips, who has joined the Club from Bristol Rugby until…

JamesPhillips1

Nowell gets two tries as Lions see off Chiefs in Hamilton

Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell returned to his sparkling best with two tries for the British & Irish Lions in their…

Nalaga a big coup for Irish says international teammate Tikoirotuma

Explosive wing Napolioni Nalaga can be an big hit in every sense of the word during next season's Aviva Premiership…

Masi and Everard return to Wasps alongside new Academy Manager Jonathan Pendlebury

Wasps are pleased to announce a new Academy structure ahead of the 2017/18 season. The new set-up sees former Yorkshire…

The new Wasps academy coaches

Sale Sharks announce signing of Australia international James O’Connor

Sale Sharks have announced the latest in a wave of world class signings, as they confirm Australian International James O’Connor…

Sale Sharks announce signing of Australia international James O’Connor

Lions prepared for final warm-up before All Blacks Test

After a crucial victory against the Maori All Blacks, the British & Irish Lions are just a single match away…

Wasps sign Paul Doran-Jones and David Langley

Wasps today confirm the signing of props Paul Doran-Jones and David Langley, while loosehead Tom Bristow is confirmed as leaving…

Paul Doran-Jones

Venter integral to Du Plessis opting to join London Irish

Petrus Du Plessis says Brendan Venter was a key factor in his decision to move to London Irish this summer.…

Fight and spirit shone through despite defeat, says England U20 coach Vass

Head coach Ian Vass hailed his England U20 side’s fight and spirit after they were beaten in the World Rugby…