Пятница, 19 Июля, 2019

Champions Saracens outclass Munster to reach European final

Conor Murray Murray has been training with Munster but not playing. Source Donall Farmer INPHO
Montrelle Montesinos | 23 Апреля, 2017, 02:58

The reigning champions bring back a host of key players who were rested for the Northampton match, with Owen Farrell, Billy Vunipola, Chris Ashton, Richard Wigglesworth, Maro Itoje and skipper Brad Barritt among those returning to the starting line-up. They will go to Edinburgh next month to face either Clermont Auvergne or Leinster in the final.

What had loomed as a daunting proposition for Mark McCall's team, against profoundly-motivated opponents, in front of their fervent "Red Army", became a procession.

"They are all in the bank and they are important things to call on". The players won't be surprised by what is waiting, albeit it will be a very special atmosphere.

"This is a Saracens team that I am hugely proud to be involved with and I am confident that win or lose we will have put it all on the line and won't be losing because of what other teams have done". "They would have given us more control".

"It is going to be hard at times".

"Our experiences were that we needed to go through games like this before you get better".

Munster's Lions scrum-half Conor Murray has been ruled out with an ongoing shoulder/neck problem.

Back row CJ Stander, who was also named in Warren Gatland's Lions squad this week, returns at number eight for the home side.

"Saracens are the defending champions and are an unbelievable side", said Zebo. The turnaround from last year to this year has been incredible. They are superb defensively. With young, home-grown talent continuing to break through, they are on their way to establishing a formidable dynasty under McCall's guidance.

It was a bitterly disappointing end to an emotional and stirring journey, but Erasmus urged his men to use the loss to their advantage, and ensure they improve for the experience. "They have resilience that means they stay in the fight and scrap for everything, and it is going to be like that on Saturday".

Munster have beaten Saracens on five of the last seven occasions and McCall is expecting another bruising affair in Dublin.

"But we have a different group now, and we are a different animal".

"There has been a lot speculation, but he clarified to us a few weeks ago", the hooker said after their 26-10 defeat at the Aviva Stadium.

While the second of this weekend's semi-finals can't match the 50,000 planned attendance in Dublin, the Stade de Gerland in Lyon will still boast a sold-out 40,000 crowd as the leaders of the Pro12 take on the Top 14's second-placed side.

O'Brien, who heads to New Zealand with the Lions next month, has been ruled out due to what Leinster say is tightness in his hamstring, and he will be assessed again ahead of next Friday's PRO12 game against Glasgow.