Bayliss ready for Saracens challenge

29 November 2019

Flanker Josh Bayliss is eagerly anticipating this evening's Gallagher Premiership Round 5 clash against Saracens at the Rec (kick-off 19:45). 

The 22-year-old started in last weekend’s 15-9 defeat against Harlequins at The Stoop and admits that the side need to improve their discipline if they are to match last season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Gallagher Premiership winners.

He said: “For us our discipline let us down, especially in that first 20 minutes, we gave away too many soft penalties that allowed Harlequins to have a foothold in the game. 

“We will be looking to get that firing at scrum time and line-out time against Saracens and it will be a huge advantage for us if we can get that going early doors.”

Bayliss, who helped England to the final of the World U20s Championship in Georgia 2017 is well aware of the threats that Saracens will bring to the Rec this evening. 

Nine of Saracens’ starting line-up will make their first appearances since the Rugby World Cup, of which were all involved in the Final between South Africa and England last month. 

“It’s a massively exciting opportunity for me," he added. "Obviously they have a really strong squad with great depth and the returning internationals will have been preparing for this game for a long time now, which is a massive challenge, but one we are ready for.

“Condition dependent there will be a lot of contestable kicks back and forth. It will be a very tight game so for us it will be about us stepping up physically and impose ourselves both defensively and in attack. That will be key to the game, whoever wins those physical battles will take the points at the end of the day.

“Saracens are a side that really like to get on top. They are definitely most comfortable when they are dominating teams, so we have to take them out of their rhythm, put them under pressure and force errors. We need to be able to turn our kicking game into attack and get in behind them and pin them in the corners.” 

Having beaten Exeter Chiefs and Northampton Saints on home soil already this season in the Gallagher Premiership, Bayliss is relishing the prospect of running out in front of a vibrant home crowd again under the Friday night lights.

He continued: “Ultimately whenever you play Saracens at the Rec, which has been a real fortress for us, the crowds have been amazing here so far.

“We go game to game, and we focus on them each week, but this is a huge game for us, sandwiched between four European games.

“Saracens will have done a lot of analysis on our set piece this week, so for us that means we have to be even better than we have been and take it up another notch.”

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