December 6 2013 Latest news:
Exclusive by James Cunliffe
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Marcelo Bosch had something of a baptism of fire at Saracens after his debut ended in the club’s worst defeat for four and a half years - but he admits the competitive edge is what’s so intriguing about the Aviva Premiership.
The Argentine back joined the Hendon side from French Top 14 outfit Biarritz last week but was an unused replacement as his new employers suffered their first defeat of the season in a hard-fought 17-16 Heineken Cup reverse to Toulouse at Wembley.
That was followed by a complete capitulation against English title rivals Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens last Saturday.
A second half substitute, Bosch was prevent a heavy 41-10 defeat - but he is relishing the difficult of the top flight as Sarries prepare to host Newcastle Falcons tomorrow.
“I love the Premiership,” said the 29-year-old, who will make his full debut tomorrow, starting at outside centre.
“I tried to follow the Premiership from France as I played in the Heineken Cup against English teams.
“They were always big matches, but what I like about the Premiership is that every single match is really hard.
“It’s not important if you play at home or away, the team tries to win everywhere and I like that because it means a lot of competition.
“You can’t relax for a weekend because you could lose.
“Now we worry about Newcastle. We know they are in good shape but we have to think about us.
“We will look at the mistakes [from the Northampton defeat] and will prepare to receive them in good shape.”
Saracens have won their last seven fixtures in all competitions against Newcastle since the Falcons’ 13-9 victory at Kingston Park in the Premiership in February 2009.
Though the north-east outfit have not been triumphant on Saracens’ soil since 2007, they have won three of their last four matches in all competitions.
Losing back-to-back games is a rare thing for Saracens so a third on the spin would seem unthinkable, particularly given that they won their first five games in the league.
A return to winning ways would go some way to silence any simmering doubts that they will struggle while their top stars - Chris Ashton, Owen Farrell, Joel Tomkins, Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola - are away on international duty with England.
“Since I arrived we have lost two matches and it has been tough because the team played well against Toulouse but against Northampton it was really tough for our mentality,” said Bosch.
“Northampton played really well, too, but now we have to keep working in a humble way to prepare for the next match. That’s really important for us.
“I watched the first half [at Saints] from the outside [on the subs’ bench] and it seemed to be a real struggle in the first half.
“They took their opportunities in the first half but we also had two really good opportunities to score and we didn’t make points.
“That was the key because they took advantage in those moments and we didn’t.
“In the second half it was really tough mentally. After the first try in the second half the match was almost done.”
One turning point came in the first half with Saints 10-3 up when Alex Goode failed to convert a scoring chance as his England full-back rival Ben Foden – who on Tuesday pipped him to the Red Rose squad – ripped the ball away from him in-goal. Had he scored and added the extras the game could have had a different complexion.
“There are little moments and little details that in these kinds of matches count a lot,” Bosch agreed.
“Perhaps if we would have scored in that opportunity the match would have been different.
“We can talk about that all day but we lost so we have to think about Newcastle.”
Despite the results since his move across the Channel, the Pumas international has been delighted with his first week at the club.
“I’m very good,” he said. “Everyone is very welcoming to me so I’m pretty excited to know all the people and the players.
“I’m really excited and emotional to train and to play with these types of players.
“It’s a big squad and they are great human beings also, so I’m enjoying myself a lot.
“I played against Saracens two years ago with Biarritz when we were in the same pool in the Heineken Cup.
“I remember that it was a massive team at that time.
“But I didn’t know that club was one where all the players have a really good time and they all enjoy being in the team.
“It’s very surprising for me, so I’m enjoying every day.”
Charlie Hodgson has recovered from an Achilles injury and will make his first start of the season against Newcastle, partnering former Springbok scrum-half Neil de Kock, in what is an experienced half-back pairing.
Jackson Wray and Will Fraser replace Kelly Brown and Jacques Burger in the back row, Mouritz Botha partners captain Steve Borthwick at lock, and Jamie George comes in for the Schalk Brits at hooker.