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George hails Saracens’ ‘outstanding’ Champions Cup victory over Ulster

09:54 20 January 2016

Saracens

Saracens' Jamie George (right) goes past Ulster's Paddy Jackson at Allianz Park. Pic: Matthew Impey/Wiredphotos.co.uk

2016 Matthew Impey

Hooker Jamie George hailed an “outstanding” performance from Saracens after the north Londoners beat Ulster at Allianz Park on Saturday, booking a home quarter-final in the European Champions Cup.

The visitors took an early 7-3 lead after Luke Marshall’s fourth-minute try but Billy Vunipola, Duncan Taylor, Maro Itoje and George’s replacement Schalk Brits all crossed the line for the hosts in a 33-17 victory.

That triumph came just a few days after George and seven of his Saracens team-mates had been selected for England as new head coach Eddie Jones named his squad for the Six Nations.

George said: “We’re very happy to put in a performance like that. The whole squad was brilliant, the lads coming off the bench came on and made a real impact.

“I thought we were outstanding in patches, it’s been a great week and we’re looking forward to facing Toulouse at the weekend.”

Saracens are yet to lose a European game at Allianz Park since they moved to their new home in January 2013.

However, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to stage their quarter-final in Hendon as they would need to increase the capacity to 15,000 to meet Champions Cup requirements.

“We love playing here,” said George. “We always talk about trying to make this place a fortress and we just really enjoy it. I thought the atmosphere here was brilliant and if we can increase it to 15,000 I think that would be an amazing occasion and hopefully that can happen.

“After years of playing out of somebody else’s home [at Watford FC’s Vicarage Road] we have really enjoyed being able to make Allianz Park our own and it’s been really important to our identity as a club.

“To play a massive European game here, for such a big occasion [to happen here] would be great for us and hopefully the community around us.”

Saracens’ director or rugby Mark McCall added: “It’s our hope and hopefully our expectation [to play at Allianz Park] as well. We’re relying on some planning applications going through and that kind of thing and the good will of the borough council here, but hopefully it will happen.

“It would be the first ever quarter-final in Barnet and it would make a significant difference to us to play here rather than Twickenham, which is probably where we’d be. It would be wonderful to have 15,000 people here on a one-off occasion and fingers crossed common sense prevails.”

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