Saracens star Glen Jackson has placed the soaraway Ospreys in exalted company – by comparing them with Super 14 giants Canterbury Crusaders.
Jackson and his team-mates were grounded by the Ospreys in last Saturday’s EDF Energy Cup semi-final – in which they suffered a 30-3 Millennium Stadium mauling.
It put the Ospreys, whose squad is packed with more than a dozen Wales Grand Slam stars and overseas talent like Jackson’s fellow New Zealanders Justin Marshall and Marty Holah, into next month’s Twickenham final against Leicester.
Saracens now block their path again on April 6, when they host the Ospreys in a quarter-final clash at Vicarage Road.
Saracens face a huge task, avenging their defeat in Cardiff – which was largely inspired by the brilliance of Wales backs Shane Williams and Gavin Henson.
Fly-half Jackson has no doubt the Ospreys are among the best sides he has played against – in northern and southern hemispheres.
He said: “They went into the game on a high following the Grand Slam. But that aside, I still think they are one of the best teams I have played against – both here and in New Zealand.
“They are very well-drilled and they have excellent players across the pitch.
“I would liken them very much to the Canterbury Crusaders. You play up against a very well-organised wall all day – and then when you make a mistake, they take full advantage.”
The Crusaders won five Super 12 titles between 1998 and 2005, and they also landed the inaugural Super 14 crown in 2006.