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LV= Cup: Saracens determined to make their mark
We have to secure a home semi-final and we will be sending a slightly stronger squad next week but the core of the players will remain the same.
Quotes of the week
- Saturday's LV= Cup preview
- Young Guns delight Diamond
- Blues quiet on Warburton
- Davis hails battling Wasps
- Hunter - Cup hopes still alive
- Quins-Leicester result stands
- Cockerill has no complaints
- Mallinder hails Saints display
- Scarlets edge out Gloucester
- Sarries stroll into semis
- Sharks too strong for Warriors
- Super Saints slay Dragons
- Quins weather the storm
- Bath too strong for Cardiff
- Chiefs still in the hunt
- Exiles stung by Wasps
Saracens assistant coach Alex Sanderson revealed the extent of his side's ambition in the LV= Cup after they qualified for the semi-finals.
Saracens recorded a comfortable 41-8 victory over Newcastle to ensure that they finished top of Pool One, while a home semi-final will depend on next week's away fixture at Northampton.
Northampton have 14 points, Saracens have 15 and the winners of the game seem sure to have crucial home advantage.
Sarries are chasing silverware in the Aviva Premiership and Heineken Cup, but that has not devalued their LV= Cup ambitions.
Sanderson said: "After last season's disappointment, we want to win the LV=Cup.
"It is always tough up there (at Northampton) and we were embarrassed there last time.
"We have to secure a home semi-final and we will be sending a slightly stronger squad next week but the core of the players will remain the same."
For the third consecutive game in the competition, Saracens secured a bonus point but they took some considerable time to subdue their opponents.
It was not until the second half that they were able to score their first try but two from Jackson Wray got them moving with Ben Ransom and Tom Jubb being the other try scorers.
Some excellent goal kicking from Ben Spencer with 21 points gave Saracens a flattering final score line.
"We were rusty in the first half, the work rate and intensity was there but we were lacking execution. In the second half, because of the pitch at Allianz Park teams tend to tire and opportunities arise," Sanderson added.
Despite the heavy defeat, Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards saw some positive signs in his side's performance.
"They weren't four tries better than us but they were a bit more clinical than us," he said.
"In fact we made more line-breaks than them, especially in the first half but we couldn't finish them off."
Newcastle fielded a very young side and battled hard throughout. They could only manage a try from Tom Catterick and a penalty from Joel Hodgson but they had impressive performers in George McGuigan and Zach Kibirige.
"There were a lot of really good individual performances, bearing in mind that we had 19 players from out of the academy and nine players making their debut," Richards added.
"Zach certainly showed what he is about and I thought George McGuigan was unlucky not to be man of the match."
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|Sunday 8th February|
|Saracens 35 - 18 Exeter|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 17 - 13 London Welsh|
|Saturday 7th February|
|Northampton 29 - 6 Wasps|
|Gloucester 25 - 7 Harlequins|
|Bath 10 - 13 Ospreys|
|London Irish 13 - 31 Newcastle|
|Cardiff Blues 9 - 43 Leicester|
|Sale Sharks 38 - 3 Scarlets|
|Sunday 1st February|
|Newcastle 39 - 19 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 15 - 20 Saracens|
|Newport Gwent D'gons 32 - 37 Exeter|
|Wasps 42 - 45 Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 31st January|
|Scarlets 27 - 18 London Irish|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Northampton|
|Gloucester 32 - 25 Ospreys|
|Harlequins 21 - 23 Bath|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com