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Gregor Townsend Outlines How Munster Can Defeat Saracens To Reach The Champions Cup Final

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 21: Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend reacts before the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Leicester Tigers and Glasgow Warriors at Welford Road on January 21, 2017 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Munster and Saracens come to blows in Dublin on Saturday, with both sides just 80 minutes away from the Champions Cup final.

The Irish province are looking to compete in European club rugby’s showpiece for the first time in almost a decade, while Sarries are looking to retain the trophy they lifted in Lyon last year thanks to a masterclass in kicking from Owen Farrell.

While the Premiership side are the favourites to reach their second final in a row, Munster should not be underestimated in the slightest – and Glasgow Warriors coach Gregor Townsend believes he knows how Rassie Erasmus’ side can hurt their English opposition.

BARNET, ENGLAND - APRIL 02: Billy Vunipola of Saracens passes the ball during the European Rugby Champions Cup match between Saracens and Glasgow Warriors at the Allianz Stadium on April 2, 2017 in Barnet, United Kingdom.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Saracens defeated Glasgow on their way to setting up Saturday’s showdown at the Aviva, and the future Scotland coach saw enough in that to see where they could be got at if Munster can capitalise:

“[Saracens] tend to play once they get ahead of a team, but their game is based on pressure. It’s making sure they don’t make mistakes in their own half. Something they have got is a brilliant kicking scrum-half, like Munster. It’s a good match-up.

“You will see very passionate teams, the clash of Irish rugby and Pro12 rugby against the English Premiership will be very interesting because the breakdown is probably more dynamic in our league than it is in England. But it will be very close to call.

“Saracens, if they do get on the front foot, with the size of players they have, can be a very dangerous attacking team. But if you can match that, then it can become an arm-wrestle.”

Quotes via Irish Examiner

European Rugby Champions Cup Quarter-Final, Thomond Park, Limerick 1/4/2017 Munster vs Toulouse Munster's Billy Holland and John Ryan after the game
INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Townsend paid tribute to both sides’ defence over the course of this season, not just in Europe but domestically also, but accepted that something would have to give at the weekend:

“It is going to be a great game. Munster played really well in the Champions Cup, played really well all season. A lot of the things Munster do really well, so do Saracens. Defensively these are the two best defensive teams in Europe so something has got to give there.”

Munster welcome CJ Stander back from injury for the clash, with Rory Scannell also able to take his place in the starting fifteen after an injury concern last week. Conor Murray, however, remains absent with Duncan Williams set to deputise for the scrum-half as he did in the quarter-final victory against Toulouse earlier this month.


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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.