Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall hopes that watching last season’s final at home will serve as motivation for his team ahead of their 2018/19 Heineken Champions Cup campaign.
The two-time Champions Cup winners were knocked out by last season’s champions, Leinster Rugby, at the quarter-final stage in Dublin and the former Ulster Rugby and Castres head coach believes the determination at Allianz Park to reclaim the trophy has never been higher.
Reflecting on Saracens’ run to the last eight last season, the Irishman said: “It just felt that we didn’t put our best foot forward, but that’s an easy thing to say after a match like that.
“We were up against it the whole competition last year, having got off to a decent start. Losing your home game in game three really taught us the important lesson that there’s no margin for error in the competition.
“Every game matters, every point matters. We were dissatisfied with how we played throughout the competition last year.
“None of our players enjoyed watching the final last year or even the semi-finals for that matter, but that counts for nothing in a way.
“We’ve just got to get excited, plan well and look forward to going to Glasgow, which is a really tough opening fixture for us. Hopefully, we can be better this year.”
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) October 10, 2018
The 50-year-old believes the experience gained in previous seasons could be vital to his team’s ambitions in this campaign, with seasoned players like Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt and Alex Goode eager for more European success.
“I suppose the players have had experience in finals, semi-finals and in big games, so they want those experiences again,” added McCall.
“I think that definitely helps – not being there last year. Hopefully that will add to their hunger as well.”