Saracens centre Brad Barritt believes his team are hitting form just at the right moment ahead of this weekend's European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final with Clermont.
Barritt missed the quarter-final win over Racing Metro in Paris a fortnight ago but, along with England team-mate Owen Farrell, is fit for the rematch of the Round 6 away clash, which Clermont won 18-6.
Sarries thrashed Clermont 46-6 in last season's semi-final at Twickenham but went on to lose both the Premiership and European Cup finals in the space of eight days.
This year will be different says Barritt, who believes Sarries are gaining momentum as the season progresses.
"We were the runaways leaders of the Premiership last season, scoring more tries than anyone before and accumulating a record number of points. We knew we would have a home draw in the play-offs with three or four rounds to go," said Barritt after making his return from injury in the 22-6 win over Leicester last week.
"This time we have been more up and down and I would like to think we are showing our character and peaking at the right time.
"It was a tale of two halves [against Tigers] – we had the wind against us in that first 40 minutes, but we held in there really well. We got some huge motivation and energy from that first try and in the second half we played some great rugby – it was a great way to build into next weekend."
Barritt revealed the English club are taking their inspiration for this season from an American basketball team, the San Antonio Spurs.
"We have a mantra to galvanise us: it is a matter of pounding the rock. It was born from the concept of what the San Antonio Spurs had done," said Barritt.
"They had obviously been quite disappointed in losing two NBA finals, and the third time they were able to keep at what they did and it turned out to be successful for them. We have taken a leaf out of that book, and hopefully it will spur us on this season.
"We keep pushing each other on, learning to get better. That is what has got us into this position and what will carry us on.
"Even in the final 20 minutes against Leicester, when we were well ahead, we kept them out and were courageous in defence. The coaches will have some tough selection decisions for the Clermont semi-final."