Itoje wants Saracens pack to continue strong start to new term at home to Gloucester
PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 September 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
England lock impressed for Sarries in victory at Northampton Saints last weekend
Maro Itoje will hope the Saracens pack can maintain their strong start to the new term when Gloucester visit Allianz Park on Saturday.
The north Londoners have started the campaign with three bonus-point wins, with their powerful pack enjoying themselves in the early weeks of the season.
The latest triumph for Mark McCall’s men came on Saturday with a 38-27 success away to Northampton Saints.
Itoje was in brilliant form for Sarries in the win and the lock is pleased with how the pack is performing at the start of the new term, but knows they can get even better.
“It’s still a work in progress and it’s probably not as clean as we want it to be, but we have some big boys in our team and when they get over the front foot, they’re pretty hard to stop,” he told the club website.
Away to Saints last week, wings Alex Lewington and David Strettle, who both nabbed braces, while scrum-half Ben Spencer also dotted down.
Spencer also kicked a conversion and a penalty, while Alex Goode, who deputised at fly-half in place of Owen Farrell, added eight points from the tee.
In beating Saints, Sarries had to come from behind to triumph and Itoje knows the match was tougher than the taking of maximum points suggests.
“It wasn’t an easy game. Saints came out and were quite hard, quite physical and we were probably a bit lax at times,” added the British & Irish Lions tourist.
“We probably weren’t switched on mentally for the whole 80 minutes, but you couldn’t question our physicality throughout the game.
“The boys were throwing their bodies about and when we get our groove going, we’re a hard team to stop.”
Saturday looks set to be a special day for Itoje’s England colleague Jamie George, who is in line to make his 200th appearance for Saracens.
At the other end of the spectrum, their could be debuts for forwards Christian Judge and Joe Gray after joining the north Londoners in the week.
Prop Judge has signed on a three-week loan deal from Greene King IPA Championship side Cornish Pirates.
Hooker Gray, meanwhile, has agreed a deal until the end of the season after his short-term contract with Saints ended.