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The 'encouraging thing' fuelling Saracens for their away semi-final

By Liam Heagney
Saracens celebrating at Bristol earlier this month (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

Mark McCall believes that some really good performances on the road in this season’s Gallagher Premiership have Saracens primed to challenge Northampton in this Friday’s semi-final. The London club lost at Franklin’s Gardens nine weeks ago when they last visited, coming second best on a scoreline of 30-41.

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They have since stumbled into the play-offs, losing their grip on a home semi-final when beaten 10-20 by Sale at StoneX Stadium on the final day of the regular season.

That defeat saw them drop from second to fourth place on the table, forcing them to play away this weekend rather than host a knockout match in London.

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However, despite not having home comfort in their quest to reach a third Premiership final in succession, McCall suggested that his defending champions have shown enough glimpses of form on their travels this season to suggest their trip to the table-toppers is a winnable game.

Saracens won five of their nine regular season matches away from home, including run-in victories at Bath and Bristol, which is fuelling their belief that they can now knock out Northampton.

Fixture
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton
22 - 20
Full-time
Saracens
All Stats and Data

“The curious thing about this year for us has been the gap between us at our best and us at our worst,” he said. “I can’t say how that is. We have talked about this over the last 10 days, that we are a team that can perform at a very high level. We have shown that five or six times this year.

“Funnily enough most of those have been away from home. Kingsholm without our World Cup players. Ashton Gate. The Rec. So we have had some really good performances on the road. That is the encouraging thing about those performances. It shows us what we are capable of.

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“So we talked a little bit about the factors that allowed that to happen against what we showed as a team against Sale… It has been nice to have a two-week lead-in into the game, especially after the way we played against Sale probably need it. It’s gone well.

“Although this is our 13th Premiership semi-final since 2010, which is a record we can be proud of, it feels like the first one. There is that kind of excitement around the place, that kind of anticipation and that’s really good.”

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