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Saracens vow to make impact

Saracens are determined to go down fighting for the remainder of the Heineken Cup pool stages.

The Watford-based club have lost all three matches in Pool Two and would require a miracle to qualify for the knockout stages. Their troubled European campaign resumes against Racing Metro in Paris on Friday night and head coach Mark McCall will not allow his side to raise the white flag.

"We won't pack things in. We'll go out to win all of our remaining games with the belief that we can still have an impact on this pool," said McCall.

Saracens succumbed 24-21 to the Parisians at Vicarage Road last weekend and make five changes. Centre Michael Tagicakibau returns from a hamstring injury while locks Hayden Smith and Hugh Vyvyan and back rows Kelly Brown and Justin Melck start in the pack.

Racing are still in the hunt for a quarter-final place and have selected a star-studded side including Juan Martin Hernandez, Francois Steyn and Sebastien Chabal.

Munster's Paul O'Connell will miss Saturday's Pool Three clash with the Ospreys after being banned for four weeks for striking Welsh international Jonathan Thomas.

Wasps, who face Newport Gwent Dragons on Sunday, have resigned themselves to losing Tom Rees for up to six months, with the club captain requiring shoulder surgery.

Aironi enter Friday's only other fixture against Biarritz hoping for a repeat of last weekend's remarkable upset against the French giants.

"It was a huge win for us on two fronts," said Marco Bortolami, Aironi's Italy lock. "It was the first win of the season for the club and now we can look forward with real confidence.

"Secondly, we proved ourselves against last season's Heineken Cup finalists and that is huge for us."


From Belfast Telegraph