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Kruis: Saracens must earn their stripes against Zebre before focusing on Toulouse

Saracens' George Kruis Saracens' George Kruis

By James Cunliffe
Friday, December 6, 2013
9:00 AM

EXCLUSIVE: George Kruis admits Saracens will have to beat Toulouse in France to qualify for the Heineken Cup knock-out stages – but he says they must first focus on the upcoming double-header against Zebre.

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Sarries travel to face the Italian minnows on Saturday before hosting the return fixture the following weekend, and the Londoners will be expected to win both games.

Anything less would spell disaster for their European ambitions after a defeat to four-time competition kings Toulouse at Wembley left them playing catch-up.

“With the loss at home to Toulouse, every point matters,” said Kruis, who scored the winning try in Saturday’s 24-19 victory over Sale Sharks in the Premiership.

“First of all we’ve got to concentrate on the win [at Zebre], and if we can get a bonus point away then that’s a strong call. I don’t know how our game plan will change but we’ve got to get the win.

“If you win your games then you’re going to go through. The loss against Toulouse was big but we know that, ultimately, we’ve got to go to Toulouse and beat them.

“We look at performances rather than wins so we’ll be looking to have a good game [against Zebre].”

The second row scored his first ever try for the club against Sale, atoning for a mistake that led to Danny Cipriani’s – but he was keen to share the praise around.

“If you look at the phase before that, every member of the team must have been involved,” he said. “It must have been a 20-phase try so to push it over the line from half a metre out pretty much means nothing – but it got the team back in the game and was a full-on team try.”

Before that, Kruis’ housemate Jack Wilson claimed a try on his Premiership debut and the second row was quick to praise the New Zealander, who also scored in each of the club’s Anglo-Welsh Cup victories.

“He’s come a long way,” said Kruis. “He was absolutely superb in the two LV= Cup games, when he was given a chance.

“It’s great that they give him a chance in the Premiership as well. He’s a solid player, a big guy and different to our other wings. I’m really happy for him.”

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