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CLERMONT V SARRIES PART DEUX
So after traveling from the Isle of Wight to the Isle of 'White' on Sunday 10th December, the game was called off to adverse weather conditions and health and safety and it really was 'snow' laughing matter, which lead to a few 'slippery' decisions being made (ok walking on Thin Ice with these puns now) Allianz Park was literally covered in a blanket of untouched snow and it was a beautiful sight, after the game was called off their was no clear indication when the game would be replayed or whether it was being played behind closed doors or not, eventually the EPRC and Saracens came to a conclusion that the game was to be replayed on Monday 11th December to the frustrations of Clermont and there management, who claimed they were not included in any discussions and there was rumours they were even going to refuse to play, although according to Vincent Galliard (one of the heads of EPRC) they were informed. The game was open to the public and was to be played at 5.30pm (GMT time) at Allianz Park.
What a pantomime EPCR have put on casting Saracens as the Wicked Stepmother. Well at least it’s the right time of year! Will we? Won’t we? Will we? Won’t we? Closed doors? Open Doors? Closed Doors? Stable Doors? You get the idea. It has given Saracens-haters across Europe the chance to blame the Club for the Snow Dump (which wasn’t forecast that far south), ungritted roads (how dare Barnet council prioritise the A1 over Champions Way?), delayed flights at Luton Airport, the fall in the pound, the Ashes problems in Australia, world poverty etc etc. Rumours abound! “Sarries couldn’t contact EPRC yesterday.” “Sarries wanted to postpone the game until Billy was fit again.” “Sarries were scared of the Jaune et bleu effect”. “EPCR changed the rules for Sarries”. “Nobody consulted ASM”. Probably not a ha’pence of truth in any of them!
BIENVENUE ET BONNE CHANCE A CLERMONT AUVERGNE DE DIMANCHE
It's that time again, Autumn Internationals all finished, and two weeks of Premiership action which can only mean the return of the European Champions Cup. This Sunday at 3pm showcases the top two teams in Europe as it's a repeat of last seasons Final Saracens v Clermont! Rugby is strange because how often do the finalists of last year's competition end up in the same group/pool?
A BUNCH OF FIVES FROM QUINS
All through today, except for one ten-minute interlude, I have been uneasily sure that If Sarries could find a way to lose today, they would do so. I have been unfortunate to be at three of the last four games, when Sarries have lost to sides that normally they’d expect to put away on the day, but at each one there seemed to be an excess of what the sergeant instructors at Sandhurst used to call ‘Heads off, Cabbages on.’
THE ONE WE CAN'T LOSE
If ever there was a must win game for Sarries it is this Sunday's visit to the Stoop. After an unprecedented (at least in recent times) 4 successive defeats, the team needs to get back to winning ways -and quickly!
TOO MANY BRAVES, NOT ENOUGH CHIEFS
Second in the table welcome first and League Champions Exeter Chiefs. It's a beautiful winter day and the air at the sold-out Allianz Park ripples with black and red flags and a fair chill too!
IN THE WORDS OF BIG JIM, HOW DEEP IS THE WELL?
The final weekend in November, the last England international, and the Premierships' current top two, Saracens and Exeter Chiefs face off at Allianz Park. Over the last 3 weekends, absolutely contrasting results:- Saracens have lost 3 in a row (it's been an awfully long time since that has happened), whilst Exeter have won 3 in a row - so maybe a change of fortunes this weekend?
GRIM BY NAME.....GRIM BY NATURE
The closer I got to Gloucester, the more convinced I became that Sarries would go home with nothing from his game. The recent losses in the AW gave me no reason to expect that the Sarries squad, shorn of the England contingent, had the mental strength or skill-set to overcome a Gloucester side whose home form belies their place in the table. They may not travel, but Kingsholm is returning to its Castle Grim reputation.
THAT FRIDAY FEELING??
So after a 2 week break, Saracens return to “the real thing” with a Friday evening game at Kingsholm. Many of the first team may be showing off a fair impression of Gavin Henson’s tan after a week or so in the Gulf. Hopefully they’ll readjust to the forecast arctic temperatures!
SALE-ING INTO THE NIGHT
After Sunday’s rather disappointing result, it is a quick turnaround for the next round of the “nobody-cares” cup up to Salford for a Friday night game under lights. The A J Bell can be a pretty bleak place at the best of times and with the weather expected to get colder, the team will require some good old northern steel (and maybe gloves)!