Barritt urges Saracens to capitalise on home advantage in Champions Cup quarter-final against Northampton
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Brad Barritt is urging his Saracens team-mates to capitalise on their home advantage and maintain their perfect record in this season’s European Champions Cup when they host Northampton in Saturday’s quarter-final.
Sarries won all six of their games in the pool stage, securing the right to play their last-eight clash in front of their own fans at Allianz Park in Hendon.
They face familiar foes – fellow Premiership outfit Northampton – and Barritt is keen for the club to secure a place in the semi-finals for the fourth successive year.
“It’s been a great period for us, culminating in what is probably one of the biggest fixtures of the season for the club,” he said.
“A quarter-final at Allianz Park against Northampton is something that we have worked hard for, and it’s the first time we’ve secured a home quarter-final for quite some time.
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“It was a job extremely well done to get this quarter-final berth. To go six games unbeaten is a feat that isn’t achieved often.
“To go away to beat teams like Ulster and Toulouse in their own back yard, plus Oyonnax – who have had a strong home record in the past – was a huge achievement by this group.
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“We’ve used the games over the last few weeks to get everyone back up to speed at the club and we’re looking to hit the ground running on Saturday.
“We’ve used the last few weeks to put some points on the board [in the Premiership] and that will put us in a good position for the end of the season, but now it’s all guns blazing for this quarter-final.
“It’s the first time we’ve headed into the final eight as the top seeds and as the front-runners. Our European form has been fantastic but it counts for nothing when we get out there on the park. We’re up against a formidable team on Saturday.”
Lock George Kruis has been cleared of biting after being cited for an incident during last Friday’s 30-10 victory away at Bath, which maintained Saracens’ place at the top of the table.
His fellow England international Maro Itoje went off at half-time in that game due to a knee injury, but it is hoped he might be available for this weekend’s European showdown.
“We’re giving Maro as long as we can,” said Saracens forwards coach Alex Sanderson. “The injury is probably an eight to nine-day lay-off, but he’s young and a quick healer so we’re hoping he’ll come through for Thursday’s session.
“On Thursday we’ll see how he’s going. If he’s fit, we’ll play him because he’s in outstanding form.”