Party over for the European champions as determined Saracens look to banish their demons

PUBLISHED: 10:47 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:47 16 May 2019

Sam Simmonds' late try for Exeter Chiefs in the 2017 Aviva Premiership semi-final knocked Saracens out one week after they won the European Cup. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PA

Sam Simmonds' late try for Exeter Chiefs in the 2017 Aviva Premiership semi-final knocked Saracens out one week after they won the European Cup. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Mark McCall has said Saracens have not only learnt the lessons on two years ago but are determined not to repeat them.

Saracens determined to put right their Aviva Premiership semi-final disappointment from 2017. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PASaracens determined to put right their Aviva Premiership semi-final disappointment from 2017. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PA

Their Heineken Cup victory in 2017 was followed one week later by the Premiership semi-final, and a try from Sam Simmonds in the dying seconds secured an 18-16 win for Exeter Chiefs.

And after much-publicised celebrations following Saturday's 20-10 win over Leinster, full-back Alex Goode in particular leading the party in his full-kit, there are worries that history could repeat itself.

Director of rugby McCall, however, says the team is having none of it.

"Two years ago we have a really good opportunity to succeed in two competitions and we were beaten by Exeter in the last minute," he said.

Saracens' Marcelo Bosch looks dejected after Sam Simmonds' late try in 2017. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PASaracens' Marcelo Bosch looks dejected after Sam Simmonds' late try in 2017. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PA

"As a group we didn't feel we gave ourselves the best chance in that game. We took our eye off the ball and weren't quite as prepared as we should have been for a big match like that.

"But we've addressed it in the team meeting on Wednesday about how much work we've put into this season and our players are very determined to finish the season strongly.

You may also want to watch:

"If somebody beats us we want it to be because they were better than us on the day, not because it's self-inflicted.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall celebrates with the Heineken Cup trophy. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PASaracens director of rugby Mark McCall celebrates with the Heineken Cup trophy. Picture: DAVID DAVIES/PA

"We want to be as prepared as we need to be."

The Ulsterman said it was right that his players celebrated their "great achievement" but admitted this year's schedule is slightly more in their favour than it was two years ago.

He said: "The difference this time around is we have a two week gap between the Heineken Cup final and the Premiership semi so there's no excuse.

"We've committed as a group to getting back to work and getting on with it."

"We've talked about the regret from two years ago and we talked about not doing that again."

The Men in Black travel to Worcester Warriors on Saturday for the final Gallagher Premiership fixture of the season before returning to Allianz Park on May 25 for the semi-final.

They will do so without both Mako Vunipola and Titi Lamositele, who both limped out of the game at St James' Park last week.

McCall revealed they won't play again this season.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Herts Advertiser

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists