Saracens wing: European trip to Clermont Auvergne is as tough as it gets
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Saracens head to France on Sunday knowing a victory will secure a place in the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup, but the size of the task is not lost on Chris Wyles.
The USA international played a starring role in Saracens’ 33-10 victory over Munster at a sold-out Allianz Park last weekend to set up the winner-takes-all clash against French league leaders Clermont Auvergne.
Both teams go into the game needing a win to qualify. In Saracens’ favour, they have beaten the French side in their last two meetings, including the 46-6 victory in the European semi-final last season.
However, Clermont have an impressive home record that included a recent run of 76 unbeaten games at the Stade Marcel Michelin.
“Clermont will be a massive occasion and we can take a lot of confidence from the Munster performance into the game,” said Wyles.
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“We know that away at Clermont is as tough as it comes, but it’s a great place to play rugby and definitely exciting times for the club. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Wyles was a late addition to the Saracens team against Munster with wing David Strettle being ruled out with a back injury just minutes before kick-off.
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However, Wyles scored one try and set up another in the team’s best performance of the season.
“It was an amazing day, there was such a great vibe out on the pitch,” he added. “We knew Munster would provide us with such a tough test, and as a group we pulled through. We were physical, we were clinical - it was a great day overall.
“There was just a good atmosphere all-round. We were energised and our physicality overall was good and we just did our fundamentals really well.
“We have to take that not only into the Clermont game, but also use it as the benchmark for the rest of the season.”
Strettle is expected to shake off the injury that ruled him out of the Munster game while Saracens also welcome Brad Barritt back.