Yachvili not taking Saracens lightly

Biarritz scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili insists there is no chance of his side underestimating Saracens when the two teams clash in the Heineken Cup at the Parc des Sports Aguilera on Saturday.

Many observers believe it to be a forgone conclusion that the French outfit will progress from Pool Four, of that opinion that it is one of the easier groups in the competition.

However, Yachvili is wary of the threat posed by the Guinness Premiership side – who have Samoa international and former Biarritz player Census Johnson in their ranks – especially given last season’s home defeat by Northampton in the same competition.

“Saracens are certainly a very formidable side,” said the France international.

“They have recruited very well and have been impressive in the Premiership so far this season.

“I watched their games against Leicester Tigers and London Wasps and they are certainly a very complete and well-organised outfit.

“We have a great deal of respect for them as opponents and this game is going to be a really tough clash.”

The French side got their Heineken Cup campaign underway with a win last weekend, but were not at their most impressive as they edged past Italians Viadana 19-11.

New signing, and South Africa World Cup winner, Ashwin Willemse did manage a debut try but, given the scoreline, the performance predictably drew less than glowing reviews.

However, Yachvili was pleased with the win and felt there were plenty of positives to take from the game.

“I know that the result against Viadana was maybe not what the media were expecting, but we certainly didn’t under-estimate the strength of the Italians,” said Yachvili.

“It’s only the media who are calling this an easy Pool – we certainly aren’t doing anything of the sort.

“We didn’t have any particular problems in the game against Viadana as our set pieces were good and we had some good play in the backs.

“However, it’s true that our finishing wasn’t what it might have been and we could have been a bit more clinical, but Viadana are a strong side with a lot of Italian internationals and notably a few All Black players in their squad and they pushed us very hard.

“I am happy to have got the first win on the board though and we are now focusing on the task ahead of us against Saracens.”

Biarritz have reached the knock-out stages six times in the seven seasons they have taken part in the Heineken Cup and the trip to Vicarage Road in Round Five will be a major test in their bid to make it through to the last eight for a seventh time.

“There are four strong teams and Saracens are probably considered as one of the strongest teams in the tournament, so we are focusing on qualification and not thinking about home quarter-finals or anything like that,” said Yachvili.

 

365 Digital

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