Ahead of a new clash in the Challenge Cup against the Harlequins, Timisoara Saracens’ head coach Grainger Heikell give us some words. He’s convinced his team can do much better than in the previous losses against Edinburgh and Stade Français Paris.
How do you feel yours players, especially the internationals after the test matches ?
Players this week are feeling good. It has been a very long and hard year for everyone but players are excited about the upcoming games and know they can focus fully without distractions of national team or other competitions. National players were tired when they returned but spent last week recovering and refreshing and are now ready for some big performances coming up.
What do you expect on Saturday, especially from your team ?
It’s hard to know exactly what to expect other than it will be an extremely tough game and challenge against Harlequins who everyone know is a high quality team with huge history and traditions in the game in Europe. From our team, we expect to have learnt from our first two games, and hopefully stick better to our systems and plans and play closer to our potential.
Did you take something out the first two games in the Challenge Cup ?
We got huge learning from our first two game. Obviously the first at this level gave us an insight into the pace, intensity, physicality and skills required to be competitive and we need to take a step up in all those areas. However we did have patches where we were competitive and applied pressure, but the key learning from that is that it must happen consistently throughout 80 minutes and we cannot afford lapses or mistakes, because at this level they are punished heavily.
Do you think your team learned a lot in the last hour in Paris ? Is it a base to improve ?
Both games were a big learning experience for players and management. The last hour in Paris showed we can compete if we do some things much better and work hard. Despite the big challenge it has given us confidence that if we do things well consistently we can put those good teams under pressure.
Vasile Rus will be absent on Saturday. Do you have other notable absentees ?
Unfortunately, Vasile Rus is unavailable due to injury so we will miss his experience and ability. Jody Rose is also unavailable. On a positive note, Paula Kinikinilau is available for selection following his broken leg against Calvisano. Also, Marian Drenceanu and Horatiu Pungea are available after missing Stade Français game. We will name the team on Thursday.
Credits : Daniel Nechita