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Saracens desperate to hit back on trip to Lyon

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 January 2019

Saracens players look dejected after the defeat at Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership (pic: Richard Sellers/PA)

Saracens players look dejected after the defeat at Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership (pic: Richard Sellers/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

North Londoners beaten at Sale Sharks in Gallagher Premiership last Friday

Saracens' Alex Goode is tackled by Sale Sharks' Tom Curry (pic: Richard Sellers/PA)Saracens' Alex Goode is tackled by Sale Sharks' Tom Curry (pic: Richard Sellers/PA)

Saracens will hope to return to winning ways when they visit Lyon in the Heineken Champions Cup on Sunday.

The north Londoners will be looking for a win in France this weekend, knowing it could seal top spot in Pool Three and a place in the quarter-finals.

Sarries will want their match against the French Top 14 side to yield a first win of the New Year after going down 24-18 at Sale Sharks in the Gallagher Premiership last Friday.

Though Billy Vunipola managed a try on his return from injury and Nick Tompkins also dotted down, the Allianz Park club suffered a second loss in their last three games.

Schalk Burger, who started in the loss at Sale, knows Saracens must improve, but believes a change in competition this weekend will give the squad a boost.

The South Africa international told the club website: “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board, but we have two weeks of European matches to look forward to now which is super exciting because we’re going well in that competition.

“The defeat at Sale was a little bit frustrating, but sometimes that’s sport.”

The defeat away to Sharks saw Saracens lose further ground in the race to finish top of the Premiership, with rivals Exeter Chiefs beating Bristol Bears 14-9.

The north Londoners were not helped by their discipline as Sale’s Rob du Preez kicked four penalties.

Sarries’ inability to convert territory into points in the second half also proved costly and Burger knows there is plenty for the team to work on in training.

“We always knew it was going to be tough at Sale and unfortunately a lot of things didn’t go our way, but it was a good effort again,” he added.

“We had a lot of ball from the set-piece, but we couldn’t launch effectively off the back of it and our discipline wasn’t good enough.

“Sale played really well and put us under pressure for large parts of the game, but we were camped near their line in the second half and unfortunately we couldn’t make the most of it.”

When Saracens hosted Lyon in October, the north Londoners eased to a 29-10 success.

Director of rugby Mark McCall will want a similar result this weekend as Saracens aim to maintain their 100 per cent record in Europe this season.

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