Planet Rugby

Pool draw thrills McCall

11th June 2014 13:03

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Mark McCall Saracens director of rugby

Excited: Mark McCall

Saracens boss Mark McCall is excited by his side's Champions Cup Pool draw, where they face Munster, Sale Sharks and Clermont.

The Heineken Cup's replacement purports to place greater emphasis on meritocracy, styling itself as the crème de la crème of the pan-European game.

It has certainly delivered a set of mouth-watering - and fiendishly hard to predict - pool fixtures, with no short supply of quality sides.

McCall's men, runners-up in both the final European tournament under the old format and the Premiership, will take on Clermont, who they smashed in this year's semi-final, domestic rivals Sale and Pro12 big guns Munster. Having contested two finals in 2014, Saracens will have good odds to make the knock-outs stages again.

"Playing in Europe you expect to come up against the best teams and I feel that we've got that," said McCall.

"Three of the teams in the group have been in the semi-finals for the last two seasons, so it's a group that is going to be ridiculously tough but incredibly exciting."

Though Saracens destroyed Clermont at Twickenham in this year's last four, McCall reads nothing into the future clash.

"Things can move quite quickly in rugby," added McCall.

"In Munster's case they have changed their coaching staff for this season bringing in Anthony Foley who is a Munster man through and through, and has been part of some of their legendary exploits in Europe.

"Clermont have also changed personnel, with Vern Cotter moving on to Scotland, so they will be different.

"Next season's starting to take shape now after the draw. We'll find out our schedule in due course when the Premiership fixtures are announced, we've got all our plans in place.

"The players are on a well-earned break at the moment but all of sudden with the European draw it's starting to whet the appetite."

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