Defeat is a blessing in disguise

KICKING INTO TOUCH WITH<br /><strong>BRENDAN VENTER</strong><br /><br />IN many ways, last week&rsquo;s first defeat of the season, against Toulon in the Challenge Cup, was a blessing in disguise for us at Saracens.<br />Things had gone, perhaps, too well for us in the opening six weeks of the season, and a first setback gave us, as a squad, the chance to sit down and re-evaluate.<br /><br />Credit to the players, it was they who analysed the video of the match and came to me with honest assessments of what they have learned.<br />This Sunday we entertain Leeds Carnegie at Vicarage Road but although this is a top-versus-bottom clash on paper, you can rest assured we will take nothing for granted.<br /><br />No-one liked being beaten last week and there is certainly a renewed determination in the squad.<br /><br />We were hit hard this week by the news that second row Michael Owen will miss the rest of the season with a knee ligament injury. Michael felt his knee give way against Toulon and after seeing a specialist it was decided to have surgery to repair the ligament to prevent long-term damage.<br /><br />What Michael&rsquo;s injury does, however, is stress the importance of the rotation policy we currently have in place here. Injuries are part of parcel of any season, in fact we have been lucky that Michael is our only casualty so far. <br /><br />Saracens are not going to win anything with 15 players, only with a squad of 35 and everyone will play a part. I do not drop my players, I roster them four weeks in advance and have faith that each and every one can do a job for the team when called upon.<br /><br />It&rsquo;s a philosophy which brought so much success to Leicester and Wasps over the years, let&rsquo;s hope it works for us.<br /><br />Call the Sarries box office on 01727 792800.