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Saracens and du Plessis braced for big fortnight

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Saracens can dictate their own European fate over the next fortnight and Petrus du Plessis is fully focused on ensuring they come out on top.

After hosting Munster on Saturday, Mark McCall’s men will complete the pool stage with a trip to Clermont – safe in the knowledge that two victories would guarantee their quarter-final berth.

Sarries fell at the final hurdle in Europe last year and prop du Plessis is determined to help the club go one better this time around.

However, he is not prepared to get carried away – with Munster scrapping for their European Rugby Champions Cup life at Allianz Park on Saturday.

“Munster and Clermont away will obviously be massive games and they are games that we have to do well in to progress,” said du Plessis.

“I would say nothing is stopping us from being confident going into these matches – we are always a pretty confident side – but we are taking it one game at a time.

“It’s tough to say where we’ll be at the end of the season, but we just want to be in the best place we can be in all competitions.

“We would definitely never prioritise the league over Europe. Each competition we take very seriously, and we are not a ‘pick-and-choose’ side at all.

“We would never say we’d do anything differently against Gloucester because we have Munster the week after, and that’s where the depth and togetherness of our squad comes into it.”

And last year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby finalists don’t have long to recover from a frustrating last-gasp defeat at Gloucester Rugby.

“We’ve been in a good place for a few weeks where we’ve played pretty well, and no doubt last weekend was disappointing,” added du Plessis.

“But we are only concentrating on ourselves and what aspects we need to improve on, rather than looking out for anyone else and what they are doing.

“We have got players who carry well and score from anywhere, and we still pride ourselves on our defensive structure which will help us put pressure on anyone all over the pitch.

“We normally don’t look too far ahead and take things one game at a time, so now after Gloucester we move onto the European Cup.”

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