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

England Rugby squad update

Bath Rugby's Anthony Watson is a step closer to making his England return after being one of 24 players retained…

Anthony Watson

Piutau hoping West Country derby brings the best out of Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby centre Siale Piutau admits there is no better way for his side to bounce back from a bruising…

Mark Jennings: In-form Sale Sharks can topple Saracens

Sale Sharks’ Mark Jennings believes his in-form side are now reaping the fruits of their tough European campaign – and…

Zach Mercer to lead England U20 against Italy

England Under 20 have made eight changes to the starting line-up for their Six Nations match against Italy at the…

Will Witty targets top six as Newcastle Falcons push continues

Newcastle Falcons are enjoying their best season in over a decade and lock Will Witty believes a top-six finish is…

Round 16 Preview: Bristol Rugby v Bath Rugby

Bristol Rugby’s only two victories in Aviva Premriship Rugby this season came in successive matches, against Worcester and Sale over…

Bristol v Bath

Ticket sales for Derby Day at Wembley hit 50,000

Ticket sales for this year’s Derby Day spectacle between Saracens and Harlequins at Wembley Stadium have now hit 50,000! The…

Wembley

Round 16 Preview: Wasps v Gloucester Rugby

Wasps are without a win in their last four first team fixtures since beating Zebre in Parma in the Champions…

Wasps v Gloucester

Referee appointments: Dean Richards takes charge of 91st Aviva Premiership Rugby clash

Referee Dean Richards will move ever closer to a century of Aviva Premiership Rugby matches this weekend, as he takes…

Round 16 Preview: Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Exeter Chiefs only defeat in their last ten first team matches was at Clermont-Auvergne in the European Champions Cup on…

Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons

Round 16 Preview: Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Northampton Saints have slipped to successive Aviva Premiership Rugby defeats at Bath and at Newcastle but have not lost three…

Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors

Jack Wilson extends stay with Bath Rugby

Jack Wilson has extended his stay with Bath Rugby until at least 2019, the Club are delighted to confirm. The…

Jack Wilson

Guy Mercer relishing Bath Rugby’s rigorous preparation this term

Bath Rugby club captain Guy Mercer believes meticulous planning has laid the foundations for a successful end to the season.…

Newcastle Falcons sign Canadian try machine DTH van der Merwe

Newcastle Falcons have added another proven top-level try-scorer to their squad with the news that Canada and Scarlets wing DTH…

DTH van der Merwe

Round 16 Preview: Saracens v Sale Sharks

Saracens are without a win in their last three Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures and have not gone four in a…

Saracens v Sale Sharks

Round 16 Preview: Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Harlequins are one of only two sides with a 100 per cent home winning record in Aviva Premiership Rugby this…

Harlequins v Leicester Tigers

Phil Swainston joins Harlequins from Wasps

Harlequins is excited to confirm today (Wednesday 22nd February), the signing of Wasps tighthead prop Phil Swainston, who will join…

Phil Swainston

BT Sport and ITV coverage of Aviva Premiership Rugby

A breathless round of Aviva Premiership Rugby action last week saw records smashed, underdogs triumph, and tries galore with a…

Live TV matches on BT Sport for Round 21

Premiership Rugby can confirm that Harlequins’ crucial clash with Wasps in the penultimate round of Aviva Premiership Rugby has been chosen…

Wasps v Harlequins