Sarries to get their Champions Cup campaign off to a strong start against Clermont
Resilient, dominant, unstoppable and even unbeatable, are several terms that spring to mind when discussing Saracens home form. With European rugby returning this weekend, the mighty Saracens will welcome Clermont to their fortress, as they look to confirm their status as one of Europe’s best sides at home.
There is also an added extra spice to this fixture, as the French side travel to Allianz Park seeking revenge after Saracens’ convincing 46-6 victory over them in last year’s semi-finals.
Sarries are absolutely brutal at home, possessing one of the best home records in Europe. Last year they only lost three times at Allianz Park in all competitions, with only one of those losses coming against a European side.
Whilst Clermont are unlikely to be as poor again, all the signs suggest that Saracens will still end up winning comfortably.
They have started this season at a canter, winning five and only losing once away to Bath, carrying on the excellent form that got them to the final in Europe last year. If this season so far is anything to go by then Clermont will need to be very careful with their approach to this game, otherwise it could get messy for the French.
Saracens are blessed in having an incredibly strong and physical set of forwards, whilst also enjoying the luxuries of having an explosive back line. Ashton and Wyles have started this season very brightly, scoring plenty of tries and contributing to the rather impressive 188 points which Sarries have already scored. They will play an important part in the outcome of this weekend’s match and will rely on the efforts of ‘The Wolf Pack’ at the breakdown to allow them to get quick ball and cruise to victory.
Clermont have made a positive start to their campaign in the French league, only losing two games in nine and they are currently sitting pretty at the top of the league, but Saracens present a far tougher proposition to anything they would have faced so far.
The effective partnership of Wigglesworth and Hodgson, at scrum and fly half, should continue to cause their opponents plenty of problems, as they will look to control the game and unleash that explosive back line. Expect Ashton and Strettle to receive plenty of possession out on the wings and cause the Clermont defence some real difficulties when going forward.
Saracens are going to be one of the teams to beat this year, as they look to improve on their near miss last season in Europe. A home tie against Clermont isn’t the easiest of matches to start their campaign, but Saracens are seemingly improving with every season and will view this game as a must win. Expect fireworks in this high profile clash, with Saracens finishing as deserving winners.