Shaw expects another 'ferocious battle' as Saracens visit Irish

Tempers flare between Saracens' Vincent Koch and Harlequins' Jack Walker at the StoneX Stadium

Tempers flare between Saracens' Vincent Koch and Harlequins' Jack Walker during the Gallagher Premiership match at the StoneX Stadium - Credit: PA

Saracens head coach Joe Shaw expects another 'ferocious' battle against London Irish in the Gallagher Premiership this weekend.

Sarries battled to a 19-10 win over Harlequins at the StoneX Stadium on Sunday and head to the Brentford Community Stadium looking for more derby success this coming Saturday (3pm).

They had to settle for a thrilling 34-34 draw when the sides met in November, as 14-man Irish fought back from 26 points down, and Shaw is only too aware of the threat they pose, after honours were split in the Premiership Cup and European Challenge Cup.

He said: "Irish are a side that don't give up. They're impressive individually, have got some very talented players and experience across the board and their back three are young and exciting.

"They're well coached. They're similar (to Saracens) in looking to bring in youth.

"I've not been to the ground yet but I've heard it's an amazing place to play at. If you give them opportunities they're more than capable of hurting you."

Mid-table Irish ran 49-32 winners at Bristol last Friday, before tries from Tom Woolstencroft and Sean Maitland helped second-placed Sarries see off Quins to sit eight points behind leaders Leicester.

Saracens head coach Joe Shaw

Saracens head coach Joe Shaw - Credit: PA

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Shaw added: "All the games in the Premiership are ferocious. The weather the way it was, there was a lot more kick-chasing and big collisions.

"We've looked after the lads the best we can and we're excited for this week.

"The group over the last few weeks, with their attitude, are going in the right direction.

"They have been big set-piece weeks. It takes everybody to get those results.

"Against Wasps we didn't get the result (a 26-20 loss), but there was a lot to be happy about in terms of the attitude and energy. It was 80 minutes of learning for us.

"The last two weeks haven't been perfect, but we've come in on Monday, assessed how we get better and what we fix to push on with."

Saracens welcomed Nick Isiekwe back from Six Nations duty with England this week, having played 77 minutes against Scotland and 55 against Italy.

England's Nick Isiekwe celebrates after the Guinness Six Nations match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome

England's Nick Isiekwe celebrates after the Guinness Six Nations match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome - Credit: PA

And Shaw is delighted to see the 23-year-old forward return to the club fold, with five senior caps now to his name, adding: "We're dead pleased he's coming back to our set-up. It's not just what he can do on the paddock and the pitch, the people side for us is huge and he only adds to what is special about us.

"As a fan and having a real interest in how our boys go, they've all gone well. He has done himself, his family and the club really proud.

"It's done him the world of good, playing at the highest level in the Six Nations, holding his own, leading, pushing and taking the team forward. It will do his confidence the world of good.

"He has the appetite to get better and can only get better. If you're not involved with your country I'm sure you're disappointed but his focus just turns to Saracens.

"Nick loves this environment, with his mates, it's an opportunity to represent us and he puts his best foot forward. We will assess him and see if he is available."