December is one of the most exciting months in the year and not just because of the pending festivities.
It plays host to two of the most exciting weekends of rugby all year, the back to back Heineken Cup games.
There is just something that captures the imagination with these games, more so than most other fixtures in the season and even more so this season for Saracens, who go head to head with European giants Munster.
It’s safe to say Sarries don’t have the best of records against the former champions.
They have clashed three times in the competition in the past and the Men in Black have come off second best on all of these occasions.
The last of these was the semi-final in 2008, when Saracens came agonisingly close to shocking the rugby world and making the final.
Much has changed since that day at the Ricoh Arena. Only two faces from the starting line-up remain in the Saracens squad, Adam Powell and Kameli Ratuvou, as well as Paul Gustard and Kevin Sorrell who are now integral members of the coaching staff.
However, the next two weekends aren’t about revenge for what happened that day.
It is about this new crop showing they can compete no matter who they face or where they do it.
Saracens have made a blistering start to this year’s Heineken Cup campaign notching up nine points from a possible ten and scoring 75 points in the process.
This has seen them sitting on top of Pool One coming into rounds three and four, with three points in hand on second placed Munster.
Regardless of their form in the competition, Sarries will face a huge task when they run out at Thomond Park on Saturday.
Munster are a team with talent running through their veins, boasting players such as Ronan O’Gara, Paul O’Connell, Simon Zebo and Dough Howlett to name just a few.
Sarries, however, also have their fair share of class within their squad, especially with the welcome return of the players who have been representing their countries in the Autumn Internationals.
England’s unexpected triumph over world champions New Zealand on Saturday had a distinctive Saracens flavour to it, with 27 of England’s points coming from Farrell, Barritt and Ashton, a total that would have beaten New Zealand on its own.
This, paired with Saracens’ hard fought win over Gloucester thanks to some superb work at the scrum by Nick Auterac in the dying moments, will be sure to put a spring in the step of the Men in Black as they head over to Ireland.
You can’t talk about Munster without mentioning their unbelievable home record, especially in the Heineken Cup.
This however won’t intimidate Saracens, if anything it will help them rise to the occasion. To them a record isn’t something to be feared, but something to be beaten.
A very similar thing was said about the Ospreys home record last season, and yet Saracens left the Liberty Stadium with four points safely tucked away.
There is no doubting that Munster are formidable opposition and that the task facing Saracens is not to be underestimated.
However, on their day the wolfpack can compete with the best the Bremiership has to offer.
Now their time has come to show that they can fight it out with the Europe’s finest as well.