through the first period. KD Cannon,

in Beachwalk 12.06.2019 10:53
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Saracens boss Mark McCall has vowed that his players will attack the game when they face fellow English heavyweights Wasps in Saturdays Champions Cup semi-final, live on Sky Sports 1 HD. And Sarries considerable recent experience of knockout rugby - they are reigning Aviva Premiership champions and into a fourth successive European semi-final - could prove crucial at the Madejski Stadium.Somebody said to me that weve had 19 knockout games in the last six years. This is the 20th, McCall said. Its hard to get into the knockout stage, full stop, so to have played as many as we have is a good thing. Hopefully that experience is valuable but if it gets us over the line, we will wait and see.We have talked to the squad about this European journey that weve been on. I remember losing to Clermont Auvergne five years ago when it was men against boys. We were absolutely bullied off the park. Mark McCall is confident his side will progress to the Champions Cup final A lot has changed at our club in the five years. We understood that physically we needed to be in better shape, and our performance team has done a remarkable job and weve recruited well.This young pack that we have has all this experience, and everybody is much more confident in these games.Wasps have not reached this stage of the competition since 2007 when they went on to be crowned European champions, but rugby director Dai Young has overseen some scintillating performances this season including winning a Champions Cup pool that featured Toulon, Leinster and Bath. Whats the secret to the re-emergence of Wasps? Youngs men also smashed Saracens in the Premiership this term, winning 64-23 at Allianz Park, although that came when both sides were without their international players due to Six Nations commitments.He [Young] has done a brilliant job because four years ago they were on their knees, said McCall. They were down towards the bottom of the Premiership and not really contenders for the top four, and now they are playing as good rugby as any team has done in the Premiership for a long time. Saracens v Wasps: Key battles Five head-to-heads in Saturdays Champions Cup semi-final We dont want to be tentative or afraid of the consequences of losing. We want to attack the game and enjoy our rugby because when our team enjoy themselves on the pitch we are normally pretty good.We dont change anything but its a different atmosphere - everybody is a bit more on it. The players are pretty motivated for this week, they have done a brilliant job all year and they are really excited about this game.McCall makes one change to the team that defeated Northampton in the quarter-finals two weeks ago, Michael Rhodes named in the back row instead of Jackson Wray. Wasps forward James Haskell expects a Test-like challenge Wasps, captained by 2007 European Cup winner James Haskell, show two changes from the side that accounted for quarter-final opponents Exeter, with prop Lorenzo Cittadini replacing the injured Jake Cooper-Woolley and lock Bradley Davies in for Kearnan Myall, who has a knee problem.Young said: The players know how big this game is, so there hasnt been much that has needed to be said this week. We certainly dont need any extra motivation.This week, it has just been a matter of doing what we normally do, making sure preparation is good and that we are all clear on our roles and responsibilities.Saracens have probably been favourites for the title from the word go, really. They are a quality team and have plenty of experience at this level, so we will have to be at our best on Saturday.If we achieve that and do play to the best of our ability, we know we can cause any team problems.Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth; 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Schalk Brits, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 4 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 6 Michael Rhodes, 7 Will Fraser, 8 Billy Vunipola.Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Titi Lamositele, 19 Jim Hamilton, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Neil de Kock, 22 Charlie Hodgson, 23 Marcelo Bosch.Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Dan Robson; 1 Matt Mullan, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 4 Joe Launchbury, 5 Bradley Davies, 6 James Haskell (c), 7 George Smith, 8 Nathan Hughes.Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Sam Jones, 20 Thomas Young, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Rob Miller.Watch Saracens v Wasps live on Sky Sports 1 HD on Saturday from 2.55pm. 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KD Cannon, Baylors top-returning wide receiver from last season, is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee Tuesday.A Baylor spokesman called the procedure minor, but Cannons timetable to return to the field is unknown.If Cannon has to miss time during the season, it would be another blow to a roster that has endured massive attrition this offseason because of fallout from Baylors handling of sexual assault allegations.Baylor interim coach Jim Grobe recently acknowledged that tthe Bears are down to 70 scholarship players from the 85-man limit.dddddddddddd The Bears have lost 12 signees from this years recruiting class, and last week former sophomore QB Jarrett Stidham announced he would transfer from the school.Cannon finished eighth in the Big 12 in receiving last season after hauling in 57 receptions for 868 yards and six touchdowns. ' ' '

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