Saracens wing Mike Ellery believes the club’s current crop of Anglo-Welsh Cup starlets are right on track to emulate the success of 2015.
The north London outfit are preparing to welcome Leicester Tigers to Allianz Park for the semi-finals of the competition on Saturday, and Ellery is adamant the defending champions won’t surrender their title easily.
In his first season at the club after switching from England Sevens, Ellery was a key member of the side that lifted the trophy two seasons ago, as well as winning the Aviva A League in the same year.
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That campaign saw the ‘Saracens Storm’ side go unbeaten in 14 games, and after making the jump to the first team following that success, Ellery has become a leading figure for the Wolfpack this term in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
“It was my first year at the club and it really was an amazing season,” said the 27-year old.
“The Storm lads were brilliant that season, we went unbeaten in the A League and senior guys like Nils Mordt, Hayden Smith really led the way alongside Maro (Itoje) who was skipper.
“It was a really good group of boys, and I’d say that we have a similar kind of feel this year but a lot of the lads who were involved in 2015 have a lot more experience now.
“Once again this season, it really does have a feel of a ‘team within a team’, back in 2015 it was same kind of feel.
“When we go away to play in the Anglo-Welsh, or in the A League, we spend a lot of time together and we usually find ourselves training against the starting team most weeks too.
“It creates that close-knit feeling within the squad.”
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) March 9, 2017
With no Aviva Premiership Rugby action this weekend, all eyes will be on Allianz Park, with some of the league’s brightest young stars set to be involved.
And Ellery believes his performances at this level two years ago were what catapulted him into Mark McCall’s first-team reckoning.
He added: “A lot of the boys involved played in the last Anglo-Welsh Cup final.
“Myself, Tim Streather, Jared Saunders, Richard Barrington, we’ve all gone on to get Aviva Premiership and Champions Cup experience on the back of that and our experience in this competition has been a great springboard for our development.
“We’ve a got a great blend in this group, the younger players coming in are full of confidence so I wouldn’t say that nerves would get to us this Saturday.
“The boys are excited. It’s been a few weeks since this group have played together, as we’ve had a few Premiership and European games since the last Anglo-Welsh Cup game.
“So we’re all raring to go, to get out there and play.”
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) March 8, 2017
Tickets for the Anglo-Welsh Cup Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March are now on sale. Click here to buy yours.