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Peel believes innovation is key for Saracens

Peel believes innovation is key for Saracens

Staying ahead of the chasing pack is the main focus for defending Gallagher Premiership Rugby champions Saracens this season, according to forwards coach Ian Peel.

The Men in Black enjoyed a remarkable 2018-19 campaign, reinforcing their status as English rugby’s standard-bearers as they achieved a second domestic and European double.

But with standing still not an option, the hard work is already under way as Saracens begin their preparations for their opening game of the new season against Northampton Saints.

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And with a healthy contingent of Saracens stars expected to be away on World Cup duty, Peel stressed the important role the club’s youngsters will play in their quest for another title.

“All the young boys who did so well last year in the A League and the Premiership Rugby Cup; we’re excited about what that group are going to bring this season,” he said.

“They have got a really good opportunity at the start of the season to show what they are about and play in some big Premiership Rugby games. It’s going to be a good test for us.

“The improvements Northampton have made over last season, especially at the end of the season – they are going to be a tough challenge and they have a good team, well-coached.

“It’s going to be an exciting start for us and then we have London Irish in Round Three, so it will be interesting to see how they get on in the first couple of rounds.

“We don’t know a lot about them as such, as they have a few new guys coming into their squad, but it will be interesting to see how they go and we’ll look forward to that game.

“We want to be putting our best foot forward every week. We want to train well, prepare well and play well every week – if we come up short, then we come up short.

“We can only control what we do and we’re constantly looking at our performance and how we can improve our performances both individually and collectively.

“We’re always striving to get better and where we can tweak our performance, where we can get that advantage, and where we can evolve. We want to stay one step ahead, keep innovating.”

Saracens defended their Gallagher Premiership Rugby crown at Twickenham against Exeter Chiefs, staging a stunning comeback to prevail 37-34 after the Devon side had topped the table.

They will have to wait until Round Seven when they will travel to Sandy Park for a rematch against Chiefs but Peel believes the two teams will be closely matched again this season.

“It’s all different with the World Cup this year and it’s exciting to see how it all pans out as Exeter will be in a similar situation to us, giving an opportunity to a lot of their younger guys,” he said.

“Every time we play against them, it’s a tough game as they are good  strong squad no matter what time of the year you play them.

“The big thing we always talk about as a group and as individuals is we want to improve, we want to keep getting better and better, day by day, week by week, game by game.

“It’s a different challenge, a new season for us and to win everything, if that’s what happens, then that’s brilliant – but we’re enjoying being together and doing what we’re doing.

“The performance in the final gives us great confidence in that group but also it gives all the younger lads something to see and they can go: ‘that’s what I want to be a part of’.

“I think if you look across the board, all of the teams have made some good signings and all teams improved throughout the season last year and beat the top teams.

“It’s going to be really exciting to see how it all pans out and those first four weeks are going to be interesting to see how everyone starts and where everybody is at.”

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