Brad Barritt: We’ll thrive in hostile situation

Brad Barritt has urged Saracens to embrace their daunting Champions Cup semi-final against Munster. Saracens overwhelmed Glasgow 38-13 at Allianz Park.
Brad Barritt: We’ll thrive in hostile situation

Chris Ashton spearheaded a four-try rout, with Barritt and Marcelo Bosch also crossing, against opponents making their maiden appearance in the knockout phase of Europe.

Saracens’ reward for a fifth successive semi-final is probably the toughest challenge they have faced yet at that stage: Munster at the Aviva Stadium, in Dublin, the graveyard of English ambitions for both club and country.

“The pleasing thing is that, over these five or six years, we have thrived on going to places where we potentially have not won before,” Barritt, the club captain, said.

“It started in our Vicarage Road days, when we didn’t get much of a crowd and we thrived on going to Welford Road and Kingsholm. This is the next logical step — to go to a national stadium to play an iconic team like Munster. We will look forward to it. We don’t see it as a daunting prospect. We see it as an exciting opportunity.”

Rassie Erasmus is confident Munster’s quartet of injured Ireland internationals will be fit for the clash with the Premiership powerhouses.

Scrum-half Conor Murray was withdrawn from the side named to face Toulouse, in Saturday’s quarter-final, having failed to recover from a shoulder injury suffered during the Six Nations defeat to Wales on March 10, while captain, Peter O’Mahony (dead leg), No.8, CJ Stander (ankle), and wing, Keith Earls (back), all failed to finish the second half of the 41-16 win over the French giants.

The South African implied Murray was kept out of the game as a precaution and said he could be available for Saturday’s Guinness PRO12 game, against Glasgow, in Cork.

“I think, three weeks ago, Conor was almost playing for Ireland (against England, a week after the Wales game). His injury is a waiting game,” Erasmus said.

“It’s the same as Rory Scannell had a few months ago, where it was first a week, then two weeks, three weeks... It’s just a matter of him getting — without me getting clever about medical things — all the power back into his arm. We still thought, until captain’s practice (on Friday), that he would make it. But he’s not a guy who is 34 and this wouldn’t have been his last rugby game. We made the wise decision and, hopefully, he is available in the next week, or earlier than that.

“Keith’s issue, I don’t think is something serious. It was just something he was struggling with a bit. CJ had an ankle injury and Pete took a massive blow to his upper thigh. It was a dead leg, but a massive dead leg.”

Erasmus was asked if all four of his Ireland stars would be fit for the April 22-23 semis. “Yes, I think so. I think, for us, it is how to manage those injuries. We will have to rest players and try another player, where, if we had lost, we would have had to go all guns blazing to the last three or four PRO12 games. We’ll now keep Europe in the back of our heads, trying to manage the players the right way”.

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