Our run-through of the Heineken Champions Cup Pool A teams continues with a look at Saracens, three-time winners of the competition.
Heineken Champions Cup record
Saracens first final in EPCR’s elite competition came in the 2013-14 season when they were beaten 23-6 by RC Toulon at the Millennium Stadium.
They would go one better two years later as they defeated Racing 92 21-9 at Grand Stade de Lyon to lift their maiden title, and repeated the feat the following season with a 28-17 win over ASM Clermont Auvergne at Murrayfield.
A quarter-final loss (30-19) at Leinster Rugby came in 2017-18 before Sarries secured a third triumph in four years, exacting their revenge on the Irish province with a 20-10 win in the 2019 showpiece game at St James’ Park.
Competing in the EPCR Challenge Cup, Saracens reached the knockout stage by finishing third in Pool C, overcoming London Irish and CA Brive for their two wins.
They navigated the Round of 16 with a 40-33 victory over Cardiff Rugby at StoneX Stadium, and then set up a blockbuster semi-final at RC Toulon after cruising to a 44-15 win at Gloucester Rugby in the last eight.
However, Sarries were overpowered at Stade Félix Mayol, with the hosts running in three tries to triumph 25-16.
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Director of rugby
Mark McCall joined Saracens as first team coach ahead of the 2009-10 campaign and became director of rugby in January 2011, guiding the club to their three EPCR titles.
The 13-time Ireland centre had coaching roles with Ireland’s U21s, Ulster Rugby and Castres Olympique prior to his move to Sarries.
McCall made 10 appearances in EPCR competitions as a player between 1995 and 1998 – for Ulster and then London Irish – though his career was ended prematurely by a prolapsed disc.
Saracens’ squad is punctuated by England internationals, with hooker Jamie George, locks Nick Isiekwe and Maro Itoje, flanker Ben Earl and No.8 Billy Vunipola the leading lights in the pack.
Fly-half Owen Farrell is the talisman and another England star along with 2019 EPCR European Player of the Year Alex Goode, who like George, Itoje and Vunipola, were part of Sarries’ three EPCR triumphs.
Fiji prop Eroni Mawi, Samoa lock Theo McFarland, Scotland centre Duncan Taylor and Wales scrum-half Aled Davies are some of the others capped at international level.
Saracens welcome Edinburgh Rugby to StoneX Stadium in their Pool A opener on December 11, before visiting Lyon’s Matmut Stadium de Gerland in Round 2 on December 17.
They host Lyon in Round 3 on January 14 and wrap up their pool stage with a trip to Edinburgh’s DAM Health Stadium on January 22.