Saracens will bounce back from Heineken Cup defeat for the Premiership final, says Brown
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Kelly Brown believes Saracens will recover quickly from their Heineken Cup final disappointment and be ready for the “huge challenge” that awaits them in Saturday’s Premiership final against Northampton.
Saracens’ hopes of landing a first European title were dashed by holders Toulon, who secured a 23-6 victory at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff at the weekend.
The defeat ended Saracens’ dream of winning the European and domestic double, but silverware still awaits if they can sink Saints at Twickenham.
“We’re clearly disappointed, but it’s in the past now. There is nothing we can do - we can’t change it,” said Saracens flanker and Scotland captain Brown.
“We need to move on. It’s something we’ve done successfully as a squad in the past. When we’ve had a setback, we’ve moved on pretty quickly. We’ve had a great season but we’re aware that we’ve won nothing yet. It’s a huge challenge at the weekend.
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“We’ve had a lot of battles with them [Northampton] over the last few years, and they’re always tough and physical. You want to test yourself against the best players, and it’s the top two sides in England over the course of the season, so it’s going to be exciting.
“If you look at their pack, it’s really strong. They imposed themselves on Bath [in the Amlin Challenge Cup final], so as an eight we are aware that we really need to front up. It’s going to be a big test.”
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Saracens were undone in Cardiff by Toulon tries from Matt Giteau and Juan Smith, while Jonny Wilkinson kicked 13 points - including a trademark drop-goal - meaning the wait for an English European champion will now run into an eighth year.
Saracens’ England number eight Billy Vunipola said: “At Saracens when we have a setback we always seem to come back in and get a positive [reaction]. I hope we can do that this week.
“Maybe we lacked a bit of detail, and that was why there were so many successful turnovers. Maybe I tried to take it on myself too much and went away from the team patterns.
“That’s probably my fault. It’s one area we need to work on – staying within the team framework, rather than trying to be Superman.
“A loss in a final is always going to be a setback. You want to go out and win those big games. Hopefully we can go out and put in a better performance.
“Northampton are a good team and we can’t take them lightly. We’ve got to go out with a great plan and carry that out.
“We can’t just play on emotion. They’ll be at the top of their game. We need to get the disappointment of this one out of the way and play well against them.”
Saracens’ South African hooker Schalk Brits added: “The boys are sore and we’re very disappointed. It’s going to be hard, but that’s one of the things of being in finals.
“Toulon have got great individual players. That’s the closest you will get to a club side that’s a world XV. They taught us a lesson in certain departments.
“We’ll learn from it and we’ll get stronger through games like this one. You learn a lot more from losing than winning.”