Saracens won’t be fazed by Red Army

Saracens’ Brad Barritt is tackled during last month’s Champions Cup quarter-final with Glasgow Warriors. Barritt said the Munster fans will only ‘rile’ Saracens in Saturday’s semi-final. Picture: Adam Davy

Saracens captain Brad Barritt has rejected claims his side will be intimidated by Munster’s travelling army of fans when the teams meet in Saturday’s Champions Cup semi-final in Coventry.

The Ricoh Arena holds 32,609 and Munster fans are expected to be in the majority, despite it technically being a Saracens home game.

Saracens have been here before, though, winning away knockout games in Belfast and Dublin and only playing in front of crowds of 10,000 at their north London base.

Centre Barritt, 32, who faces a fitness test today on his ankle injury, is the brains behind Saracens’ Wolf Pack defensive system and says his team will feed off the Munster supporters.

“The sense of what Munster are bringing from a crowd perspective will be irrelevant to a Saracens team. If anything it will rile us up a bit,” said Barritt.

“The great thing is, having been at Saracens for this long, is something we have learnt to really get a rise out of ourselves for. We feed off the energy of an away game or a game where we don’t have as many fans. We know the energy ultimately comes from within.

“We love what we have at Allianz Park and we know the club has grown exponentially in the last few years. Ultimately, the energy and the reason why you do it has to come from within.”

Barritt knows what is coming from Munster on Saturday and is expecting to field a bombardment in the air from the men in red.

“I think they are a team with no weakness,” he added. “I think they are a team who put together an 80-minute performance. They are a very well disciplined team, a very well drilled team. I think they marry up all components of the game very well, so it gives you very little in attack, because their defence has been the strongest in Europe. We spoke about the kicking game, the aerial threats of both Keith Earls and Andrew Conway, but then also what a physical presence they can be on attack, so we know it is going to require an extra effort and the things that maybe we have done in parts this season, we are going to have to marry them up and do them more often and more frequently to prevail against a very top Munster team.”

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