Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Burger tipped to lead Saracens' double charge

Big hitter: Jacques Burger puts a tackle in on Sitiveni Sivivatu

Clermont 6 Saracens 46: Jacques Burger's tackling frenzies can spur Saracens to Heineken Cup glory, according to fly-half Owen Farrell.

England playmaker Farrell hailed Burger's match-winning 27-tackle blitz in Saturday's 46-6 Heineken Cup semi-final demolition of Clermont Auvergne.

Saracens' six-try rout at Twickenham set both a record total and winning margin for a Heineken Cup semi-final.

The north Londoners will step into their first-ever Heineken Cup final in Cardiff on May 24.

Former Blue Bulls flanker Burger was almost forced into retirement by chronic knee trouble that first sidelined him for 18 months.

Saracens proved superior to Clermont in every department on Saturday, but Farrell admitted Burger's defensive zeal led the charge.

"I'm glad he's not tackling me," said Farrell.

"You talk about putting your body on the line, there's no one that does it more than him.

"He's mental to be fair, but he's a massive asset for us."

Top of the Aviva Premiership table with two regular-season matches left to play, Saracens have not shied away from chasing an impressive silverware double.

Farrell said the Allianz Park squad appreciate the lengths to which Burger will stretch to keep his knee trouble in check, even if opponents do not.

"When you see people hitting like that it makes you want to do it," said 22-year-old Farrell.

"And it's not just that, I know if I was playing against him, you'd be looking for where he is, because you wouldn't want him hitting you from the blindside.

"There were some overlaps that they had out there, and he got off the line and put some good pressure on people – and you can tell people know he's coming."

Farrell's recovery from foot trouble proved vitally important to Saracens' weekend victory.

The 24-cap outside-half ceded goal-kicking duties to Alex Goode, and the England full-back duly slotted 13 points with the boot.

Farrell said his injury played no part in handing Goode the kicking duties, admitting he feels fresh for the business end of the season.

"I've trained fully for two weeks, but I've not done as much kicking," he said. "Alex kicked very well so ultimately it was fine.

"We'll enjoy this win, it's a big occasion for us, but we want to be used to this, we want to get better, and go on again and show what we can do in the final."

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