Rugby Union: Director of rugby Mark McCall looking for Saracens improvements in European Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster
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Sarries head for Dublin this weekend looking to keep title defence alive
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall knows his team must give an improved display against Leinster if they are to triumph in their European Champions Cup quarter-final on Sunday.
The Allianz Park outfit head for Dublin over the Easter weekend to take on the Irish giants at the Aviva Stadium.
Sarries warmed up for the crunch clash by labouring to a 24-11 win over London rivals Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership last Saturday.
The two-time defending European champions were far from their best, but did enough to see off Quins.
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However, McCall knows his team will have to step things up a notch if they are to get the better of Leinster this weekend.
“We have to be better in pretty much everything against Leinster (than we were against Harlequins),” said the 50-year-old.
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“There was enough in our attack early doors and we looked dangerous at times.
“There was enough in our defence at times, but it’s obvious we need to raise our game in all of those areas.
“I’m pleased we got through the Harlequins game unscathed and we were able to get some confidence into players.
“We were able to get a bit of rhythm between the international players who hadn’t been around for 10 or 11 weeks and their team mates.”
Ahead of the crucial game this Sunday, Saracens are sweating on the fitness of two of their British & Irish Lions stars.
Owen Farrell (quad) and George Kruis (back) both missed the game against Harlequins and are in a race against time to be fit for the trip to Dublin.
“Owen and George are both touch and go for next week,” added the Saracens director of rugby.
McCall later said that number eight Billy Vunipola, nearing a return to full fitness after suffering a fractured arm in January, was also likely to miss out.
Being with out any one of those three players would be a blow for Saracens heading into such a big game, so the prospect of having none of the trio available will make the north Londoners’ task all the harder.
Leinster are yet to suffer a home defeat this term, but with Saracens in search of a third straight European crown, McCall’s men will be doing all they can to triumph in Dublin this Easter.