Mark McCall Saracens boss wary of fast-starting Clermont

Warren Gatland defended the timing of the first Lions meeting in London

Warren Gatland defended the timing of the first Lions meeting in London

"Clermont came back and put them under pressure but you always just knew that Saracens would hold on and their constant pressure just paid off". They barely give inches, and instead constantly reorganise, refocus and then settle.

Clermont rebounded with a Remi Lamerat converted try to trail 12-7 at halftime. Theirs is an all-court arsenal and deserve every accolade.

The Aviva Premiership champions take on Clermont from 4pm on Saturday, with Gloucester facing Stade Francais in the Challenge Cup final on Friday night. Obviously a European Cup final is motivation in itself.

Saracens' England fly-half Owen Farrell was named European Cup player of the year as his team-mates paraded the trophy round the home of Scottish rugby, as another sign of the winners' continuing magnificence - this was Sarries' 10th straight victory in knockout matches in Europe and the Premiership.

However, Sarries have suffered a setback in the build-up to the match with wing Sean Maitland - who has enjoyed a hugely impressive first season with the club - being ruled out for the rest of the campaign after picking up an ankle ligament injury against Wasps last weekend. "They are constantly in the top two in the Top 14 and reaching the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup", he said.

Ashton needed one try to set a new competition record of 37 but at the moment he contemplated how exaggerated his dive over the line should be, his marker, Nick Abendanon, who had not initially tracked the run, swept along the five-metre line and prevented the holders from making the flawless start. Goode floated like a masterful playmaker, spotting gaps and prodding the ball through when opportunity arose.

After the frustration of missing the entire global season through injury, Duncan Taylor is desperate to get back on a BT Murrayfield pitch which saw him score one of the great Scotland tries the last time he graced it. How England can continue to ignore him is astounding.

But Clermont came storming back as Spedding started a fine handling move with a swerving run before Peceli Yato fended off Farrell and found Abendanon to complete a 70-metre try in the corner.

Ulsterman Mark McCall's side go into their clash with Clermont Auvergne in Edinburgh with the prospect of a "double double" still alive. But it is not the victory two years ago that will do the most damage for Clermont, it will be their Saracens insider.

Saracens is only the fourth team to successfully defend the title after fellow English side Leicester in 2001-02, Ireland's Leinster in 2011-12, and France's Toulon in 2013-14-15.

"We take energy from that and we like the fact that is the case - we are on our own out there and their fans are generally outweighing our own fans - it is something you get used to". Their journey is still a work in progress.

He added: "There were some players we really felt strongly needed to rest for this game and a couple of players who were just carrying small things which had this been the semi-final with nothing next week they would have played".

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