ERCC: Saracens v Clermont Preview

There's a repeat of last season's Champions Cup Final headed rugby fans way with Saracens taking on Clermont on Sunday the 10th of December.

The defending European champions Saracens will need to put in a gargantuan shift if they are to end their horrendous run of five straight losses when Clermont come knocking on Sunday. 'Sarries haven't been this poor in a seriously long time, but this rematch of last season's Grand Final may just bring out the best in their star-studded side. Clermont, meanwhile, will be looking to add a much-needed good news story to what has been a largely underwhelming season.

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Saracens v Clermont | Sunday 10 December | Allianz Park | 17:15

To Win (80 Mins)
Saracens 2/10 | Draw 25/1 | Clermont 33/10

Saracens

Who could ever have predicted how badly this current Saracens team would fair at this point in the calendar year? The team heralded as one of the greatest club rugby sides of all time haven't won a game since October, which has seriously put a dampener on their quest to claim an unprecedented third-consecutive Champions Cup title. That said, Mark McCall's boys will bounce back sooner or later - such is their quality - and the magnitude of this weekend's fixture may just bring out the best in the "Wolf Pack".

The loss of Maro Itoje is a huge blow (the second-rower has been ruled out until next year), but the defending champions should still have enough firepower in their arsenal to grind out a win; this despite their poor recent run.

If they are to get their campaign back on track, however, they will need every one of their veterans to stand up and set the tone; in particular their captain fantastic, Brad Barrett. The former Sharks man may be just about ready to call time on his illustrious career, but he will need to call upon every last inch of his talent to get his side over the line on Sunday. His leadership will be crucial.

Clermont

If 'Sarries have had a rough few weeks, dare we even mention what has become of Clermont this season? The reigning Top 14 champions have had an absolute shocker, and currently languish in ninth-place on the domestic front. Their frustrating inconsistency has all but ended their hopes of defending the Top 14 title they won so marvellously, but they are still very much in contention to go one step further in Europe than they managed last season, by finally claiming an inaugural Champions Cup triumph.

They would have picked up some steam following their 35-26 win over Agen on the weekend, which will give them some hope of coming away from Allianz Park with something to show for their efforts - particularly before their rematch with Sarries on the 17th of this month. While they will certainly push their hosts to the last minute, the Londoners may just have too much for them at home. But, come on, how great would a Clermont win be heading into next week's rematch?

Verdict: Saracens 2/10
I'm expecting Saracens' big game players to stand up and produce a quality performance - something that is long overdue. Clermont will be as dangerous as ever, but will ultimately come out second best.

Written by Shaun Goosen for @Hollywoodbets.net

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