Rugby Union

Chris Ashton exclusive: Saracens winger on vital Harlequins clash

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Saracens star Chris Ashton has spoken exclusively to GiveMeSport about an 'outstanding season' at Allianz Park but insists that it will count for nothing if they fail to secure any silverware.

Saracens dominated the regular season and finished nine points clear at the top of the Aviva Premiership. They are now set to host Harlequins on Saturday in their fifth-consecutive Aviva Premiership semi final, as they look to go one better than last year and progress to the final at Twickenham on May 30.

Ashton said: "The team has been outstanding so far this year and we have some big games coming up. Hopefully we can get to two finals, that has been our aim since the start of the season. 

"We understand what this means for the club, we have been building now for a good couple of years, getting the squad right. We have worked hard throughout pre season and the regular season and we have only lost two games in the league.

"We have got such a good group of forwards and we have been fortunate enough has backs, to have them in front of us this year. They have given us the platform and the space to allow us to move the ball and score some tries.

"In previous years we have not done that so well. We have relied on our defence to win games but now we have a great attacking aspect to our game."

But the 27-year-old realises that despite all of Saracen's recent success, the results in the club's upcoming fixtures will define their season. After Saturday's semi final, Saracens will travel to Cardiff to take on Toulon at the Millennium Stadium on May 24.

"It will not mean anything if we do not win the next couple of games and finish the job off." Ashton admitted, "Last season we got to this point and ended up loosing to Northampton, we were gutted and we have not forgotten." 

Harlequins have not beaten Saracens since March 2012, but they have enjoyed a rich vein of form recently. Quins lost just one of their final seven fixtures and their late flourish allowed them to steal fourth place from Bath, on the final day of the season. 

Ashton insists that the 2011 Champions are well prepared for their London derby, but they refuse to underestimate Harlequins, " We have got a fit squad after resting last week and we always thought Quins were going to nick it, so we have had some preparation on them.

"But now it is time to put it in place, we just have to go and do it now. Quins are always the risky ones. They always back themselves and that is dangerous trait for a team to have."

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Chris Ashton
Rugby Union

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