Saracens skipper Brad Barritt has urged his team to build on an impressive Heineken Champions Cup win over Munster ahead of a string of vital festive fixtures back on the domestic front.

The two-time defending champions have lost just one Gallagher Premiership match this term but remain rooted to the bottom of the table with -18 points, 22 adrift of Leicester Tigers in 11th.

An impressive 15-6 showing at Allianz Park last time out demonstrated Sarries’ credentials however, and Barritt insists the good feeling generated by that performance can only stand them in good stead going into the New Year, starting with a home tie against Bristol Bears on Saturday.

He said: “We all know in the context of the season these next three league games are vital, but we all felt a lot of excitement coming off the back of that win against Munster.

“I think the buzz in the group has been really good this week. The guys have trained well, and I think there is an anticipation that there is a lot more to come from us.

“We saw in the last 20 minutes last week what we’re capable of so for us it’s about trying to marry that up and strive for a better performance again this time out.”

Barritt returns to the Sarries midfield alongside Nick Tompkins for the visit of Bristol, while Maro Itoje is named in the XV and Ben Spencer slots back in at scrum-half.

And while the Men in Black have enjoyed success in their past six home fixtures against the West Country outfit, Barritt recognises the threats posed by Pat Lam's side, who are sitting pretty in second.

“They’re a side we’ve got a lot of respect for,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of great players who can cause a lot of damage and they’re playing a unique and exciting brand of rugby.

“We’ve taken a fine look at what they’re about this weekend, but ultimately in rugby it’s about what you can do. We’ve tried to concentrate a little bit on what we want to achieve this game and hopefully that will see us over the line.”