Saracens fan Louise Warr says Sarries have made the rest of Europe sit up and take notice despite losing out in the Heineken Cup final on Saturday

Matt Stevens (right) consoles Chris Ashton (left) at full-time on Saturday. Picture: Action Images

Matt Stevens (right) consoles Chris Ashton (left) at full-time on Saturday. Picture: Action Images

First published in Sport by , Saracens fan

Saturday’s result may not have been the fairytale everyone involved with Saracens had their heart set on.

It did however provide a glimpse in to the future.

The occasion no longer is the dream.

Toulon were worthy winners, there is no doubting that but Mark McCall’s men showed that they deserve their place among the elite in Europe.

Their victory over Clermont in the semi-final not only made the rugby world sit up and take notice but instilled a great deal of self-belief.

It also showed that these teams don’t have superpowers and they can be beaten.

On the pitch, one individual also showed that like his club he has the potential for a very bright future indeed.

Billy Vunipola might have let his disappointment get the better of him after the whistle but during the game he was a shining light in the Saracens side.

In previous match-ups with French opposition, the Men in Black often lacked a powerhouse player, someone to provide go forward and match the physicality of those they come up against.

The younger of the two brothers constantly posed a threat, barging his way through the sizable Toulon defence on more than one occasion, looking to see if opportunities to attack were available.

This is nothing new from the 21-year-old, it has been a familiar sight in the premiership this season but in the Heineken Cup the standard and intensity is raised that bit higher and Billy looked as confortable as ever.

Although, his presence on the England tour will be shortened due to the club’s final commitments it will be intriguing to see him take on the best in the world in New Zealand.

As for the team themselves, the result against Toulon will undoubtedly hurt but it is how they respond that now matters.

Widely praised for their togetherness, the wolfpack should have no problems uniting for their final challenge, Northampton at Twickenham on Saturday.

After last season’s lack of silverware despite their top spot finish, thanks to Northampton’s semi-final demolition, Saracens will be determined not to let history repeat itself.

As if the side needed any more motivation than playing their fierce rivals, at Twickenham, with a trophy at stake, it will also be the final game for Steve Borthwick.

The underrated captain has been at the forefront of the Saracens revolution, the cool calm and collected figure, the constant throughout an era of change.

New challenges face Borthwick now on Japanese shores but there will be no greater sight for those with Sarries close to their heart than to see the friendly giant holding the Aviva Premiership trophy aloft after 80 minutes on Saturday.

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