'Massive challenge' awaits Saracens in the Heineken Cup warns John Smit

 

South African star John Smit has braced Saracens for "a massive challenge" in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals against French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne.

Reigning Aviva Premiership champions Saracens are England's sole survivors in the competition after winning Pool Five courtesy of a 26-20 victory over Treviso in Italy.

They will now host Clermont during the opening weekend in April, with holders Leinster entertaining Cardiff Blues, Munster meeting Ulster in Limerick and Edinburgh facing four-time European champions Toulouse at Murrayfield.

"Clermont are a fantastic club with quality players throughout the squad," said Saracens hooker Smit, who spent a season at Clermont earlier in his career.

"It is going to be a massive challenge for us, but one which we cannot wait for.

"I know from my time there that they always want to do well in the Heineken Cup. But at Saracens, we are looking to create our own legacy with the squad of players we have."

Saracens' Vicarage Road home ground in Watford meets the 15,000 minimum quarter-final capacity demanded by Heineken Cup organisers, while they will also have home country advantage should they eliminate Clermont, facing Leinster or the Blues.

Edinburgh, the first Scottish team to secure a quarter-final home tie as a top-four seed since the competition began almost 17 years ago, can now look forward to greeting Toulouse after a bonus-point 34-11 win against London Irish denied the Blues top spot in Pool Two.

"Toulouse at home is much better than Toulouse away," Edinburgh coach Michael Bradley said.

"They can be stunning in attack, but if you do your work properly and you are clinical, you can put them under pressure.

"This is a huge step forward for Edinburgh rugby, first and foremost, and to the players here who made a commitment to each other in September when we set out some objectives and how we wanted to play the game.

"We made a commitment to areas we haven't been good at in the past, and we have had some brilliant games here at Murrayfield against Racing Metro and the Cardiff Blues.

"The boys have achieved what they set out to do so far, and it's great for Edinburgh rugby. I thought we played well and controlled the game against London Irish."

The Blues, meanwhile, are Wales' sole survivors, progressing as best runner-up after Edinburgh claimed their all-important fourth try just two minutes from time.

The winners of the tie between Edinburgh and Toulouse tie will be away to Munster or Ulster in the semi-finals, a game seemingly destined for Dublin's Aviva Stadium.

And in the second-tier Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals, Wasps will host Biarritz, Exeter travel to meet Stade Francais, Brive host the Scarlets and Toulon entertain Premiership leaders Harlequins.

PA

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio talks during the press conference for the film
films

Film follows park rangers in the Congo

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album