European Champions Cup: Saracens' Billy Vunipola sets sights on Premiership glory and another double

Frank Dalleres
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ASM Clermont Auvergne v Saracens - European Rugby Champions Cup Final
Saracens' victory over Clermont underlined their status as Europe's top team (Source: Getty)

Saracens No8 Billy Vunipola has urged his team-mates to keep their European Champions Cup celebrations muted until they have completed their mission to claim the Premiership title.

Sarries beat Clermont Auvergne 28-17 at Murrayfield on Saturday to retain their European crown and take another step towards achieving consecutive double-winning seasons.

A Premiership play-off semi-final against Exeter on Saturday represents their next hurdle and Vunipola intends to rein in the partying while there are major honours still to play for.

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“It’s strange because I never thought we’d be here again, but it’s an amazing feeling,” he said.

“As a team we’re pretty out there and we want to win next week and hopefully push on to the Premiership final. We don’t want to say we’re the best team, then miss out next week.”

Victory over Clermont underlined Saracens’ status as Europe’s dominant side, although Vunipola admitted that defending the trophy had proven harder than winning it for the first time 12 months ago.

ASM Clermont Auvergne v Saracens - European Rugby Champions Cup Final
Vunipola (left) and brother Mako (right) helped Saracens defend their title (Source: Getty)

“This year has been a bit unorthodox with the way we have done things, with boys getting injured and everybody writing us off,” he added.

“But the boys showed fight and determination to get back here again and then push it over the line.

“It just shows how hungry we are because it was tougher this year. At certain times we didn’t have our whole team, but we dealt with it amazingly well and that’s testament to the group we have.

ASM Clermont Auvergne v Saracens - European Rugby Champions Cup Final
Farrell kicked 13 points in the final and was later named European player of the year (Source: Getty)

“It’s just such a great thing to be a part of. We’ll enjoy this one for a couple of days but we have a massive game next week and we need to recover, focus, then get back into it.”

Fly-half Owen Farrell, meanwhile, received the inaugural Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy for Europe’s best player after the final, in which he kicked 13 points to add to tries from Chris Ashton, George Kruis and Alex Goode.

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