Saracens need Heineken Cup 'big stage' success

Alex Sanderson
Sanderson ended his playing career in the Saracens back row

Premiership champions Saracens must prove they are European heavyweights next season, according to their forwards coach Alex Sanderson.

Sarries failed to reflect their domestic form in the Heineken Cup last term and finished bottom of their pool.

"We need to prove ourselves on a bigger stage now," Sanderson told BBC Three Counties Radio.

"We know that we didn't perform to our best this season, that is something that is firmly set in our sights."

Saracens, who have been drawn alongside Biarritz, Ospreys and Treviso for next term's competition, ended the last campaign in style, going on a 12-match Premiership winning streak which culminated in their play-off final victory over Leicester at Twickenham.

But their form in the first half of the season was epitomised by their Heineken Cup showing, winning just one pool match.

Although Sanderson was heartened by narrow defeats by Leinster and Racing Metro before the turn of the year.

"If we were playing the European Cup as we were playing in the back end of last season, some of those results might have gone our way," he said.

"We'll be looking to get more consistency out of our performances throughout the season which will hopefully show in European matches."

And with the club's move to a new stadium in Barnet looking unlikely to happen until 2012, Sanderson said he would be open to the idea of staging European ties at Wembley.

"I'd love to, but unfortunately it's out of my hands," he added.

"It's a great atmosphere, a great occasion for the lads and coaches.

"It's something quite special to be involved in."

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