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Kruis and Saracens have familiar foe in crosshairs

Saracens and Clermont Auvergne are getting used to the sight of one another and George Kruis is confident of overturning the French outfit once again on Saturday.

This time last year the 2011 Aviva Premiership Rugby champions enjoyed one of their most memorable days, thrashing Clermont 46-6 to reach the European Cup final.

Drawn in the same pool this time around they have met twice already in the competition, Saracens winning 30-23 at Allianz Park before suffering an 18-6 defeat in France in Round 6.

The ongoing battle continues this weekend and second row Kruis knows the challenge is a tough one, after Clermont produced a superb display to beat Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Northampton Saints 37-5 in their quarter-final.

“We have played these guys a fair few times now and I think every game, apart from the semi-final last year, has been a close one,” he said. “These are the games you want to play in – they are pretty much international level.

“If you play a team three, four or five times then you start to know what the strengths and weaknesses are, and vice versa.

“We have played them twice since that and it is just about doing whatever you can to win the game. They are a big team and they pride themselves on their set piece. It’s just going to be a massive game.

“We have got players coming back – the likes of Owen Farrell and Schalk Brits – and it’s good to get those experienced players who have played in these semi-finals.

“If you look at our last four or five games, they have been pretty big ones and we have still got Exeter and Northampton and some huge games in the Premiership. We have put some big shifts in and we are prepared to keep doing that.”

Victory would cap a memorable week for Kruis, who put pen to paper for a new contract with Saracens on Wednesday.

The club have also tied down Maro Ijote and Marcelo Bosch – who also both start against Clermont – to new deals in the last week and Kruis believes the future is bright in North London.

“It is one of those things that you think about and it’s good to get it on paper and get it out the way,” he added. “I didn’t really have to think too much about it.

“If you look at Maro, he is very well developed and he is an awesome player – and he has been playing very well for us.

“We have got some top quality players so whatever combination, it is quite exciting – but he is definitely going to be playing a lot more in the future.”

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