Mark McCall admits Saracens have a huge quarter-final task on their hands in the form of reigning Heineken Champions Cup holders La Rochelle. 

Saracens defeated Ospreys 35-20 at StoneX Stadium in the last-16 and now must travel to the Stade Marcel Deflandre in the final eight. 

McCall will go directly against another former Ireland great, Ronan O’Gara, in the coaching dugout after La Rochelle sneaked past Gloucester 29-26 thanks to a last gasp Teddy Thomas try. 

And the Saracens Director of Rugby, who led the club to all three of their titles, is fully aware of the size of the task his side face in the west of France on Sunday. 

He said: “It’s a huge challenge, going to a place we’ve never been and one of the most atmospheric stadiums in European rugby. 

“It’s the home of the reigning champions, who have been in back-to-back finals so that tells you a lot about them as a team.  

“They are packed full of superb players and are well coached, but this is the kind of challenge that our group relishes and embraces. 

“All parts of your game have to be incredibly strong - we have all seen how strong their set piece can be so up front will be hugely important, they are a serious threat to the breakdown so the fundamentals need to be in place for us.” 

Saracens’ history in the competition in the past decade has been nothing short of outstanding, with the club reaching the last eight in each of the last 10 years they have entered the competition, but McCall makes it clear his side cannot look in the past this weekend. 

“The group of players we now have, there is a core that are still here from those achievements, this is our 10th consecutive quarter-final so there is plenty of experience amongst the squad,” he added. 

“It’s dangerous to look too far into the past as this squad are trying to build their own story, but it certainly helps to be able to draw back on those kind of occasions. 

“To have 43 knockout matches in 10 or 11 years when you can only get in five a year is an incredible achievement and going to places like La Rochelle keeps you alive and excited, but we are well aware of the scale of the task.”