Gloucester vs Saracens: McCall relishes a knockout clash after a year in the desert


Aracens travel to Gloucester for the European Challenge Cup quarter-final tonight, and director of rugby Mark McCall says the risk of elimination makes this exactly the sort of game his side have missed during their year in the championship.

Saracens were relegated for salary cap offenses but came back at the first opportunity and are competing on two fronts as the season draws to a close.

Sarries has Maro Itoje back in his second row after a few weeks off, with Alex Goode recalled to the back. Alex Lozowski returns from injury to take his place on the bench, a welcome boost before a busy run-in in domestic and European competition.

Gloucester have also made three changes to a strong squad, with Ollie Thorley set to make his 100th appearance.

“When you come into May and you’re involved in knockout rugby, that’s exactly what you want. It’s been a great team effort to get us to this stage,” McCall said.

“Going to Gloucester on a Friday night in front of their home crowd, it’s the kind of atmosphere we were missing and we’re up against a team that really has the wind in its sails.

“They’ve been brilliant at home and it’s one of the best places to go to play so we’re really looking forward to it.”

The London Irish travel to Toulon on Sunday for the final quarter-final. The semi-finals take place next week.

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