Rugby Union: Saracens wing Chris Wyles expects tough trip to Northampton Saints as quest for third European Champions Cup title begins
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Mark McCall’s men have won Europe’s big club prize in each of the past two seasons
Saracens wing Chris Wyles expects Northampton Saints to be gunning for revenge when the sides meet in the European Champions Cup on Sunday.
The north Londoners are the two-time defending champions and begin their quest for a third-straight title at Franklin’s Gardens this weekend.
Sarries have already beaten Jim Mallinder’s men once this season, cruising to 55-24 success at Twickenham on the opening weekend of the Aviva Premiership season.
But Wyles believes Northampton will want to show they are better than that result when the sides meet again in European action this week.
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“Northampton are going to want to prove a point given how our first game with them went,” the 34-year-old former USA international captain told the club website.
“We’re expecting a massively physical challenge, but it’s an exciting start to the European campaign.”
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Sarries head into European action off the back of an impressive triumph over Wasps on Sunday that took them to the top of the Premiership.
Jamie George crossed for a hat-trick of tries in a 38-19 triumph, with Wyles also dotting down as Mark McCall’s men picked up maximum points for their efforts.
Fly half Alex Lozowski, who has recently been linked with a move to Exeter Chiefs, added 18 points from the tee.
It was a fourth straight win for the north Londoners, and though Wyles knows there is still room for improvement, he was happy with the end result, adding: “With the bonus point, we went top of the table so it was a job well done.
“There were a few frustrations here and there still, and there could have been a couple of better executions in attack, but we’re in a good place looking forward to the European games.”
The match with Wasps also saw skipper Brad Barritt play his 200th game for the Men in Black.
After joining in 2008, the centre has become an integral part of Saracens’ success in recent seasons, winning everything the club game has to offer.
And Wyles was only too pleased to pay tribute to a man he has played alongside with for the past nine years.
“Brad is a fearless leader for us. He’s hard as nails and he’s been an awesome captain through the years, so we were really happy we could get a win for him in his 200th game,” said the 34-year-old.