Saracens battling to grab a play-off spot at London Welsh on the final day
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Saracens travel to London Welsh on Saturday for the final match of the regular Premiership season – and they must defeat the relegated side to maintain their hopes of reaching the play-offs.
Sunday’s disappointing 24-20 defeat to Exeter Chiefs at Allianz Park leaves both sides one point behind third-placed Leicester as the trio fight to claim the final two places in the semi-finals.
Saracens and Exeter are level on points in the table but the Devon side currently hold the all-important fourth spot by virtue of their points difference.
Exeter have a points difference of 198 while Saracens’ is 195 – so Sarries have to match Exeter’s result and score four more points in the process to leapfrog them.
The north Londoners have every chance of doing so, given they visit a London Welsh side who have lost all of their 21 top-flight games and conceded 953 points – an average of 45 per match – and they could also overtake Leicester and grab third place on the final day.
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Leicester host leaders Northampton, who have already secured top spot, while Exeter have a tricky home game against Sale Sharks.
There are plenty of permutations, but Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall has made it clear his team will be concentrating on their own fixture at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, and not elsewhere.
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“We have to just focus on what we are doing, everything else is beyond our control,” he said.
“You never know what can happen in the last game of the season. For instance you don’t know what kind of mood Sale Sharks will be in when they go down to Sandy Park, you just never know.
“We’ve got to prepare to beat London Welsh, and beat them by four tries [for a bonus point] and make it as big a margin as we can. Whatever happens elsewhere is out of our hands. We are now in that situation.”
Saracens hope to welcome Billy Vunipola back from an ankle injury for the match but centre Brad Barritt will face a late fitness test on his injured hamstring.