THE good news was our performance and result at Castres last weekend has left us on the verge of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup.
The bad news is we have to do it all again tomorrow night.
Toulon’s 70-point mauling of Rovigo means we will probably have to beat Castres again at Vicarage Road this weekend to qualify from Pool 3 – and we may have to earn a bonus point just to make sure. Castres are not top of the Top 14 for nothing and the guys were magnificent to beat them so convincingly last Friday.
To win the second half 20-0 was something we were very proud of but we are well aware that a backlash may be coming our way this weekend. They wouldn’t have liked being beaten like that last week and will have revenge in mind.
Squad rotation or not, you can be assured Castres will arrive at Vicarage Road with an extremely strong side and we are under no illusions as to the battle that awaits.
Naturally, we have higher expectations because we are playing at home, but the mindset will be exactly the same as last week.
Similarly, the squad rotation, as far as we are concerned, continues with plenty of changes made from the side which triumphed last week.
Steve Borthwick is rested as a new-look front five is introduced, so Hugh Vyvyan takes over the captaincy.
A lot of talk has been centred around our derby with London Irish just after Christmas, but first our focus is on Castres – we’ll deal with Irish after that!
Brendan Venter is head coach of Saracens. Call the box office on 01727 792800.