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Rugby Union: Saracens want to tame Dragons in Anglo-Welsh Cup

PUBLISHED: 17:00 26 January 2018

Saracens' Sean Maitland scores their fifth try during the European Rugby Champions Cup clash against Northampton Saints (pic: Paul Harding/PA)

Saracens' Sean Maitland scores their fifth try during the European Rugby Champions Cup clash against Northampton Saints (pic: Paul Harding/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Sarries return to Anglo-Welsh Cup buoyed by qualification for European Champions Cup quarter-finals

Saracens' Nick Isiekwe during the European Rugby Champions Cup clash against Northampton Saints (pic: Paul Harding/PA) Saracens' Nick Isiekwe during the European Rugby Champions Cup clash against Northampton Saints (pic: Paul Harding/PA)

Saracens are back in Anglo-Welsh Cup action on Saturday when they host Welsh side Dragons.

With a youthful line-up expected, it means many of Sarries’ more experienced heads can reflect on a job well done in the European Champions Cup.

A 62-14 thrashing of Northampton Saints at Allianz Park on Saturday was enough to see the north Londoners scrape through to the knockout stages as the eighth seeds.

Mark McCall’s men face a daunting task in the quarter-finals, with a trip to Leinster, who won all six games in the pool stages, to come over the Easter weekend.

When that tie comes around, Saracens will hope for a similar display to the one that defeated Saints, which pleased captain Brad Barritt.

“Saturday wasn’t a result of our 80-minute performance, it was a testament to the week we had,” the centre told the club website.

“We had a steely determination, a focus and a clear game plan for what we wanted to achieve. “

Saracens had to overcome a few setbacks to beat Saints, including a string of injuries.

Having lost Michael Rhodes, Billy Vunipola and Jackson Wray to injury last week, Sarries also had to contend with the late withdrawal of Liam Williams from Saturday’s starting XV.

In the end, it proved to be no hindrance as the Allianz Park outfit ran in seven tries in total, and Barritt was delighted with how well the hosts performed in adversity.

“The win was about the Saracens character. We spoke volumes about what it means to be a Saracen,” added the England international.

“For us, it’s having character and showing that when things are slightly going down, we’re able to pick ourselves back up.

“That was the case with the first 10 minutes; there were a few thunderbolts, but the way we reacted to that was a testament to what we’re about.”

Alex Goode marked his 250th appearance for Saracens with a try in the rout, and Barritt was only too happy to pay tribute to his colleague.

“For Goodey, it’s an unbelievable milestone. To be 29 and playing some of the best rugby of his career, he’s still an unbelievable player and we’re very lucky to have him at Saracens,” said the 31-year-old.

“It was a special day for him and pleased we could pull the performance out.”

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