Saracens captain Brad Barritt is relishing the encounter with Northampton Saints in their Champions Cup opener on Sunday.

The reigning champions have already defeated Northampton 55-24 in the Premiership this season and will be eager to get off to the best possible start in the cup.

However, Saints are unbeaten at home in the league this campaign and could provide Sarries with a tough opener at Franklin's Gardens.

Barritt said: “We’ve obviously had some great battles against Northampton in the past and this will be no different.

“They’re unbelievable at their home ground, with their home crowd behind them, but that’s a challenge we relish."

Saracens have been drawn in a tough pool this season, facing Clermont Auvergne and Ospreys alongside Northampton, but Barritt is looking forward to the challenge.

He said: “There’s never really going to be an easy pool. You’re always going to be faced with tough opposition.

"To proceed to the final, you’ve got to beat the best along the way. Clermont are a fantastic team and one we have the utmost respect for.

"So are Northampton and so are the Ospreys; it’s a really tough pool.”

Director of Rugby Mark McCall echoed Barrit’s sentiments that Northampton will be a tough opening fixture.

He said: “We know each other probably a little bit better than we do the other two opponents. They’re really a good team.”

“It may be one of the hardest pools we’ve been in for a long time.”