European Challenge Cup
Saracens after double triumph
January 22, 2009
Eddie Jones' Saracens can secure a home quarter-final with a win over Mont de Marsan © Getty Images
Saracens travel to face Mont-de-Marsan at the Stade Guy Boniface on Friday night safe in the knowledge that a win will secure a home quarter-final in the European Challenge Cup.
Steve Borthwick will lead a strong squad to France, with a second squad under former All Black Chris Jack heading to South Africa to face Super 14 side the Stormers on Sunday in a friendly.
Mickey Young will make his first start for the club at scrum-half, with recently-acquired All Black Justin Marshall travelling to South Africa, while experience campaigners Gordon Ross, Kris Chesney and Kevin Sorrell are joined in the side by promising youngster Alex Goode at fullback.
Saracens Director of Rugby Jones is expecting a tough afternoon in France, but is also excited in showcasing his side's strength-in-depth with two big games in the space of a single weekend.
"If you look at their home record so far this season, nobody scores many points against Mont de Marsan so we know we are in for a very hard match," he said. "Like all French teams, they will play with a huge amount of passion and pride at home. But the aim for us is quite simple and that is to win the game.
"It doesn't matter if we only do that by the odd point, all we have to concentrate on is getting the victory. Our goal since the start of the season has been to get a home quarter-final place and we will achieve that with a win on Friday night."
The squad for the Mont-de-Marsan game will fly to South Africa straight after the game and meet up with the rest of the squad ahead of the game with the Stormers and a further tie against Currie Cup side Boland on Wednesday.
"It's a big weekend for the club as we look to book a place in the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup and then face one of the best teams in South Africa 48 hours later," Jones said. "It's a great opportunity for both groups of players involved in the game and the chance to send out a real message about the depth of talent and strength within the squad. We're very excited by it."
Saracens will be up against a familiar foe in the Mont-de-Marsan front-row, with former Wasps hooker Trevor Leota packing down. Francois Tandonnet parners Frederic Urruty at half-back.
Mont de Marsan: JM Mazonetto, N le Roux, D Senio, M Taele, S Ternisien, F Urruty, F Tandonnet, G Leleu, T Leota, S Ormaechea, F Rawls, R Berek, Y Brethous, R Bernard, J Tastet
Replacements: C Blanchard, B Coutts, J Mynhardt, J Carre, P van Schalkwik, A Abbad, A Genthieu
Saracens: A Goode, N Cato, K Sorrell, A Farrel, R Penney, G Ross, M Wilson, M Aguero, F Ongaro, C Johnston, S Borthwick, K Chesney, D Seymour, A Saull, D Barrell
Replacements: A Walker, T Mercey, BD Skirving, A Powell, K Ratuvou, E Thrower