Barritt battling for Saracens semifinal fitness

Wed, 17 May 2017 06:01
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INJURY UPDATE: Saracens captain Brad Barritt could be available for Saturday's English Premiership semifinal against Exeter as the reigning champions continue their quest for a 'double Double'.

The London club completed the first half of their trophy mission by retaining the European Champions Cup with a 28-17 win over Clermont in last Saturday's Final in Edinburgh.

South Africa-born Barritt was replaced in the 54th minute at Murrayfield with a calf problem and missed training on Tuesday but Saracens boss Mark McCall is hopeful the 30-year-old England centre will be fit for their match away to southwest side Exeter at Sandy Park. 

"Brad has got a chance to play," said McCall. 

"He is much better than we thought," Saracens' Director of Rugby added.

"He did not train today, but he might train on Wednesday, so we will see."

Leicester, for so long the pre-eminent power in English Rugby Union, were the last side to win both the Premiership and European Cup in consecutive seasons in 2002.

Now Saracens, just two games away from a third successive English title, are being hailed as one of the best club teams of their era.

But Saracens' place in rugby history was of no concern to McCall.

"We keep on having to repeat ourselves," he said. "We have never, ever spoken like that and why would you? It is not what we are interested in."

The former Ireland centre added: "There is a real determination in the group to try and get better all the time and try to improve all the time. We have got a young, hungry group and that is what we talk about."

If they get past Exeter, Saracens will face either Wasps or Leicester in the Premiership Final at Twickenham on May 27.

McCall's men may be favourites to beat Exeter but the coach was wary of the in-form Chiefs.

"Exeter are on fire at the moment," he said. "They have not lost a game for a long time and they are playing at Sandy Park so for lots of reasons it is going to be a very difficult game for us."

He added: "There is everything to admire about Exeter. 

"Firstly, any player who goes there, they get more out of the club, and that says a lot about the coaches, the infrastructure and spirit that Exeter have.

"The second most impressive thing is that they started this season not as well as they would have liked. 

"There would have been a danger that their season would have fallen apart but the opposite happened.

"They have been on an incredible run. They are a top side with top players, well-coached, work hard, with a great spirit at the club so it will be quite a difficult challenge."

Agence France-Presse

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