The Saracens team to face Munster at Thomond Park this Saturday confirms the theory that has been posited over the past few weeks that the reigning Champions Cup winners will focus their attentions on the Gallagher Premiership this season.
Sitting at the bottom of the league after being docked 35 points following their recent salary cap saga, they are 22 points behind eleventh place Leicester Tigers and face a battle to survive in England’s top flight this season.
Not only that but after a World Cup where a large portion of the squad played right until the end, they will be used sparingly throughout the year.
While they won the domestic and European double last season, that seems to be nigh on an impossibility this season and the team that faces Munster shows that they are not taking their European exploits that seriously.
England stars Jamie George, George Kruis, Billy Vunipola, Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly are all rested, as are Scotland internationals Sean Maitland and Duncan Taylor after they all faced Bath in the Premiership last weekend. However, Munster fans are still wary of the threat posed by Saracens.
There’s enough in that team that could do some serious damage to our set piece/ground work though..
and that centre partnership is dangerous
— Ben L (@purplebenny) December 6, 2019
But there is an itoje who could do massive damage to our set piece.
— Norris Kevin (@kingdomman66) December 6, 2019
Interesting Saracens team. Half back combo looks exciting with Vunipola at ten. Big pack with Skelton and Itoje in the mix. Earl is an excellent back row. Pace to burn out wide. Munster Rugby must be on their game to get a result tomorrow. Massive tussle awaits!
— Hawkeye Sidekick (@hawkeyesidekick) December 6, 2019
A pack that still contains two of the leading locks in Europe, Maro Itoje and Will Skelton, cannot be taken lightly. With emerging stars Nick Isiekwe and Ben Earl complementing the consistently high-class Jackson Wray in the back row, this is still a formidable pack.
However, the inexperienced bench is perhaps what distinguishes this from a usual Saracens team, as Nick Tompkins is the only player to bring on with a decent number of appearances under his belt.
Mark McCall usually has the luxury of bringing on another contingent of internationals from the bench but will have to make do without in Limerick.
This is an entirely winnable game for Munster. They have to take the opportunity. https://t.co/3qS5udmDhi
— Hugo Gordon (@HugoGordon1) December 6, 2019
One Vunipola ?
Great experience for the less experienced Saracens players to play at Thomond Park.
5 points to come from the Ospreys game, making the home matches v Munster & Racing the critical ones. Could still be very interesting. https://t.co/iD5C364MbL
— Simon Gleave (@SimonGleave) December 6, 2019
I think that will depend on the result of this game, and CC league standings after this round.
— Neil Aris (@NeilAris) December 6, 2019
While Saracens will still be dangerous, Munster fans also feel this game is winnable and, more importantly, should be won. A loss would leave the men in red in a precarious position in the competition, but a Munster team loaded with their big names should be too strong at home.
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