Saracens star warns: Sale will be out for revenge in Champions Cup
PUBLISHED: 10:48 11 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:08 11 December 2014
2014 Matthew Impey
Richard Wigglesworth is warning his Saracens team-mates that Sale Sharks will be hurting and looking for revenge at Allianz Park as the sides clash again in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.
The two teams met in Manchester at the weekend, with Saracens running out 19-15 winners in the first of the back-to-back clashes between the sides.
That victory maintained the Londoners’ hopes of qualifying from their group at the halfway stage, but they face two-times European champions Munster and last year’s semi-finalists Clermont Auvergne in the final two games in the new year.
Wigglesworth, who was part of the England team that beat Australia last month, said: “Saturday’s game is massive now.
“We have to build on the result of the first Sale game as we know they will be hurting and coming to Allianz Park looking to turn us over. If we can get another win it puts us in a good place going into the games in January.
“We were pretty relieved to get the win at Sale,” added Wigglesworth after tries from Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola had given their side the win.
“I thought that in the first 20 minutes of the second half we put in a really solid performance and were on top. But fair play to Sale, their scrum came to life, and they used their maul really well to put us under a lot of pressure. Credit to the lads, we did enough to get the win.
“Both teams were fighting for territory throughout the game. The ball was greasy and no team got away from the other and it was always going to stay that way until one team has to force the issue. We were never out of range though, and we defended brilliantly in those closing stages.”
Saracens have been dealt a blow with England centre Brad Barritt ruled out for four weeks with a calf injury. Meanwhile, Mouritz Botha has been reluctantly released by Saracens to join the Sharks in South Africa, with effect from January 1.
Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall said: “Mouritz has been a massive part of our squad and our culture for the past five and a half seasons, and we are very sorry to see him leave.
“However, this is a great opportunity to play for one of the top teams in the Super XV, and we wish him, Natasha and young Joshua well.”
Botha joined Saracens from Bedford Blues in 2009 and has played 142 matches for the club while also being capped 10 times by England.
The lock forward, 32, said: “Saracens will always be important to me, and it’s difficult to leave so many friends in what remains a unique sporting environment, but the Sharks are trying to build something special in Durban.
“This will be a great rugby challenge for me, and a great adventure for my young family.”