Saracens certainly have the bragging rights over Clermont Auvergne and when they cross the Channel on Sunday, George Kruis insists they can maintain their stranglehold on the French giants.
After a 46-6 thrashing of Clermont in last season’s European semi-final, Sarries welcomed them to Allianz Park back in October and ran out 30-23 winners.
They meet once more this weekend in a clash that holds great importance for both sides – with the victor guaranteed a spot in the last eight of the European Rugby Champions Cup.
And after an eye-catching 33-10 victory over Munster last weekend, Kruis – who will sit out the game through suspension – is hoping to see the Aviva Premiership Rugby side carry that momentum across to France.
“It’s a game we had targeted for a long while,” said Kruis of the Munster victory. “We knew we had to perform and the boys are just happy to have done that.
“We talked this week about how maybe some people have written us off a little bit. I know we can do it and we have done it before – in our last two games we have beaten them. We have just got to not let the crowd affect us as well.
“I know it’s a cliché but we are a club that tries to look at one game at a time and we are just trying to focus on beating Clermont this weekend. To us it will be a knockout game and we are going there to win.”
In reality a win may not be necessary to see Saracens safely into the knockout stages – depending on other results and how many bonus points they accrue.
However, scraping through the pool stage is not on Kruis’ agenda and another morale-boosting win can only help the club, especially after they entered this European fortnight off the back of a Premiership defeat at Gloucester Rugby.
And despite the excitement of linking up with England once again next week, the 24-year-old insists he has not cast his mind too far beyond Sunday.
Kruis added: “Clermont are a top side and their record does show that but the boys are just really looking forward to getting stuck in this weekend. It’s going to be a huge game.
“As a club we are in a good place and as a country I feel we are in a good place as well. It’s just exciting to be playing on both fronts and hopefully competing for those titles. Just playing in big games is the most exciting thing.”
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