Ben Spencer insists Saracens have learned from Heineken Cup loss to Clermont
Last Updated: April 24, 2013 7:14am
Saracens scrum-half Ben Spencer claims the club have learned from their Heineken Cup heartache of 12 months ago.
Saracens had gone into the 2011/12 competition as reigning Premiership champions and with high hopes of success.
However the wheels came off their challenge as they were outclassed by Clermont in the quarter-finals.
A year on and Saracens now face Toulon at Twickenham for a place in the final - and Spencer insists past experiences will stand the club in good stead.
"When we look back at last year we were good through in the group stages and then came up against Clermont in the last eight in front of a big crowd at Vicarage Road but we came unstuck," Spencer told Sky Sports.
"The club and players have learned from this. It is a difficult step up, so it is a big week as we know we will have to put the work in and train twice as hard.
"The Heineken Cup is a really special time around the club. Everyone knows it is a completely different standard from the Premiership. The very top teams from around Europe are involved so we know we've got to raise our own standards."
Highly-rated Spencer concedes that he is likely to be a spectator at Twickenham - with Richard Wigglesworth and Neil de Kock ahead of him in the pecking order.
However the 20-year-old, who has made 27 appearances since joining from Cambridge in 2011 and been capped by England Under-20s and Saxons, is happy to bide his time for his chance.
"When we look back at last year we were good through in the group stages and then came up against Clermont in the last eight in front of a big crowd at Vicarage Road but we came unstuck. The club and players have learned from this."
"I've not got any expectations of playing, as much as I'd love to be," Spencer said. "Who wouldn't want to play against one of the best sides in Europe in front of a packed Twickenham?
"However I've got to expect not to be involved as Neil and 'Wiggy' have been going really well this season. It will be a great day for the club, though.
"Fingers crossed that next season I will get more game time in the Premiership and Heineken Cup.
"I am still only 20 so I have hopefully got a long career ahead. I have just got to realise where I am at. Currently there are two world-class scrum-halves at the club and it is great to be around these guys and to learn off of them.
"I will have to sit tight as my time will come but when it comes I will have to make the most of it."
Ben Spencer was speaking at a QBE Rugby Pro event with Upminster RFC, on behalf of QBE, the Official Business Insurance Partner of Premiership Rugby. For exclusive rugby news, video and blogs please visit www.QBErugby.com