Gloucester Rugby captain Tom Savage is hoping Sunday’s clash with Saracens has a strong sense of déjà vu about it as the Cherry & Whites bid to kick their Aviva Premiership campaign into life.
Savage and co endured a tough start to this Aviva Premiership as they were on the wrong end of a 22-16 scoreline against Sale Sharks in their opener at Kingsholm.
Gloucester have not begun a league season with two-straight defeats since the 2000/01 campaign but that appears under threat this term as they travel to Allianz Park for the first time in their history to take on Saracens – having not won on Sarries soil since November 2008.
However, the two teams met in round 21 last season with Gloucester coming out on top with a 28-23 victory, and Savage is hoping for more of the same this weekend.
“We beat Saracens at the back end of last season and if you carry it over it’s only been three games since we’ve played them, so hopefully things haven’t changed too much since then and we can start from where we left off,” he said.
“It was a great performance that day and there’s no reason why it can’t be the same again.
“But they have gone really well in their first game so you’ve always got to be wary as they have great players all over the field. You only have to look as far as the Vunipola brothers and Chris Ashton to know they have strength throughout.
“There are no easy games in the Premiership and especially not against Saracens but nor would I say there is any added pressure just because we’ve lost the first game – Sale’s been put behind us now and we move on.”
While Gloucester were left cursing their opening day result Saracens were left basking in glory as they disposed of London Irish 42-20 at Twickenham.
Saracens have also lost just once at Allianz Park – against Northampton Saints in last year’s semi-final – but forwards coach Alex Sanderson knows they will have to be spot on with their set-pieces if that proud record is to continue.
“Everyone is so motivated at the moment and, in the second game of the season, if you need to look for extra motivation then there has got to be something wrong with you,” Sanderson said.
“Gloucester are a proud team and in those areas in which they were beaten in, they would have worked hard this week.
“The set-piece is one area we’ve identified but they’ve got such a strong back line as well.
“For turnovers, broken play and kick returns they are one of the best teams in the league, if not the best with the back three they’ve got and how unpredictable Freddie Burns is, even from his own 22.
“We are aware we can’t switch off, we’ve got to stay alive at every moment because they can go 80 metres to score tries as they did against Munster in a warm-up game.”
Referee: Wayne Barnes (124th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Paul Dix and Robin Goodliffe. TMO: Trevor Fisher.
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