Saracens keep calm with creepie crawley & croc

Saracens have used a croc and tarantula to learn to keep their cool ahead of Toulon game.

We were joined in training this week by a crocodile and a tarantula!

There was a method in the madness.

With our biggest game of the season coming up, when we play Toulon in the Heineken Cup semi-final on Sunday, the coaches thought it was time to give us a little test of keeping calm under pressure.

And having a mini crocodile and tarantula crawl across your hand is serious pressure in most of our books!

John Smit did well with this small crocodile on his hand. Then Jacques Burger thought he was going to have the same treatment when they bought out a tarantula instead.

It was a big 'un. But he did really well too.

There will be more pressure on Sunday but we are all really excited about the challenge of taking on a team like Toulon.

It will be right up there with the biggest games in my career and I am sure a few of the other guys feel the same way. But we are not a squad that is wet between the ears and lacking experience so we will be confident, excited and a little nervous. That’s how it should be.

Going through their team sheet makes you realise what a superb squad they have got. But Leicester caused them some real problems in the first half of their quarter-final in France and we will be aiming to do that for the full 80 minutes if we can.

It will be a brutal physical contest but, in big games, you have to get your tactics and game plan right and that will be a huge part of our approach. We want to put them under pressure and force them into errors.

Similarly, we know that we will be under pressure at times. We have to soak that up when it comes and get out of our 22 without conceding many points.

They will be away from home but I don’t buy into that ‘French teams don’t travel’ theory any more, certainly not in big games. They have too much experience not to turn up on the day and half of their team are not French anyway so that makes the old theory pretty irrelevant.

I’ll be watching the other semi-final on Saturday and then getting ready for ours.

These are exciting times.

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