European Champions Cup: Clermont Auvergne v Saracens preview
Saracens are aiming to become only the fourth team in history to retain the Champions Cup when they face Clermont in Saturday’s final at Murrayfield.
Mark McCall has named his strongest available side, with wing Sean Maitlandthe only absentee as Sarries look to move closer to a ‘double double’.
All six of Saracens’ British & Irish Lions squad members will start.
Clermont have named an unchanged side from last month’s semi-final victory over Leinster.
David Strettle starts against his old side, with another former England international, Nick Abendanon, on the opposite wing.
- Clermont can cause upset against Saracens – Strettle
- Sarries on the brink of greatness – Guscott
Saracens are looking to win a Premiership and Champions Cup double for the second successive season.
They face Exeter in the Premiership semi-finals on 20 May, and would meet either Leicester or Wasps in the final on 27 May.
Last season’s victory over Racing saw them crowned European champions for the first time – and McCall says that “big-game experience” will be crucial.
“The game will be close for large periods, that’s what happens when really good teams play each other,” he said.
“Clermont, when they’re at their very best, start games very strongly and quickly. But if that does happen we have enough experience to be able to deal with that.
“These games tend to be won or lost in the last 20 minutes. Our big-game experience tends to show that we are able to do the right things.”
Saracens winger Chris Ashton goes into the game needing just one try to become the outright top try-scorer in European Cup history – he is level with Vincent Clerc on 36.