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Saracens fans Louise Warr says the Men in Black can go one better in the Heineken Cup when they face Clermont Auvergne at Twickenham on Saturday
12:00pm Tuesday 22nd April 2014 in Sport
Once upon a time, not too long ago, the thought of Saracens reaching a Heineken Cup semi-final was somewhat of a fairytale.
For the third time in their history, Saracens will look to go one step further than that and grace a final, looking to get their hands on the coveted silver trophy.
Their quest to reach that stage so far has not been smooth, with a heartbreaking last-minute penalty against Munster in 2008 and a Jonny Wilkinson master class with his Toulon side a year ago denying them a crack at the final.
This time it is French giants Clermont who stand in the way of Mark McCall's men.
The two last met in the quarter-final stages in 2012, where the Top 14 side ran out 22-3 victors.
That day Clermont showed Saracens the power and dominance that is needed to be a top-class European team and in reality Sarries never looked like getting close.
Saturday’s game, whatever the outcome, will be a marker as to the progression which has taken place in the past two years.
Although the side have failed to secure a trophy within this time, it is clear their game has evolved, no longer the masters of the kick chase but instead pragmatic and ruthless while still having the ability to turn on the style as and when it is needed.
Despite their impeccable home run of 75 unbeaten games, Leicester’s fight back at the Stade Marcel-Michelin as well as the ten defeats they have suffered in the Top 14 this season show that the men in yellow are not invincible.
Saracens’ nine-point lead at the top of the Aviva Premiership table with just two rounds to go enabled them to rest key individuals ahead of Saturday’s game as well as reintegrate some others on their return from injury.
At the end of a long and tiring season this could just give Saracens the edge to go on and compete, as long as Clermont do not catch them cold early on and take the game out of their grasp as soon as the first whistle is blown.
So the Twickenham scene is set for the English table-toppers to take on the mighty European force of Clermont Auvergne.
Seems like the perfect backdrop to face those demons, to write that fairytale and to make the European rugby community sit up and take note that maybe something special could be on the horizon for the team from Barnet.
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