Smit keen to keep double dream alive

Tue, 23 Apr 2013 17:19
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Hooker John Smit insists all of Saracens hard work will count for nothing if they fail to finish the job as their campaign reaches the business end.

Hooker John Smit insists all of Saracens hard work this season will count for nothing if they fail to finish the job off as their campaign reaches the business end.

The only Premiership outfit still in the European Cup and sitting pretty at the top of the table with one regular season match left, the double is a real opportunity for Mark McCall's men.

This weekend Sarries welcome French powerhouses Toulon to Twickenham for their European semifinal in what will be Smit's last season with the club.

And the World Cup-winning former Springbok captain has called on his side to produce their very best rugby now that titles are within reach.

"You work so hard the entire season and then it all comes down to one or two play-offs games and this is where we are at," said Smit.

"It would be foolish of us now to think the job is done because everything that we've done and all the work that we've put in comes down to winning one 80 minutes at a time.

"I think we've been good over the season and we've treated every weekend as a Final, from the start of the season, it's an old cliché but we remind ourselves of it every time we get around.

"And with European rugby and big games and top-of-the-table clashes, we remind ourselves that the only thing that's important is the next one.

"At the moment that's our semifinal against Toulon so it would be wonderful to finish of such an amazingly enjoyable season with some sort of win."

While last year Sarries fell just short on both the domestic and European front, having won the Premiership title in 2011, an increased squad depth has given them the ability to shuffle their pack week in week out.

The addition to the backline of Chris Ashton and the rise of Joel Tomkins have been mirrored in the forwards by the likes of Alistair Hargreaves and Will Fraser to give McCall a host of options with which to play.

And Smit admits that the ability to give players much-needed rests while also replacing players on international duty has been vital in their march on two fronts with the  Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on May 25.

"I think a year ago juggling two competitions would have been a challenge with the squad we had but what we've shown on numerous occasions this year is the ability of everyone in the squad getting chances throughout the season," he added.

"When you get knocked out of the European Cup you say you are glad because you can focus on the Premiership but we wanted to compete in both and at the moment we still have that opportunity.

"It's to our advantage to have the squad we have, having used it in the correct way. I can tell you now there's not too many guys in the Saracens squad that are feeling tired and not pumped for the next couple of weeks.

"We are a team that's built a huge amount of momentum over the last couple of months and confidence is always quite high in our squad."

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EUROPEAN CUP
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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 2 2 0 0 10
Wasps 2 1 0 1 5
Ulster 2 1 0 1 4
Harlequins 2 0 0 2 1
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 2 2 0 0 10
Clermont Auvergne 2 2 0 0 9
Ospreys 2 0 0 2 3
Northampton Saints 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 2 2 0 0 10
Exeter Chiefs 2 2 0 0 8
Montpellier 2 0 0 2 3
Glasgow Warriors 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leicester Tigers 2 1 0 1 6
Munster 2 1 1 0 6
Racing Metro 2 1 0 1 5
Castres 2 0 1 1 3
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Bath 2 2 0 0 8
Toulon 2 2 0 0 8
Scarlets 2 0 0 2 2
Treviso 2 0 0 2 1