England must pick Strettle – McCall

Date published: September 7 2014

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Saracens boss Mark McCall believes David Strettle has done enough to earn a recall to the England squad.

Saracens boss Mark McCall believes David Strettle has done enough to earn a recall to the England squad following his hat-trick in Saturday's victory over Wasps in the London Double Header at Twickenham.

“David's try-scoring record has been as good as anybody's and he took his tries really well,” said McCall.

Tries from Chris Ashton and Strettle helped Sarries to a 20-9 half-time lead although Wasps hit back through Nathan Hughes and Christian Wade – with a double – early in the second period.

Strettle's second set up a tense final 20 minutes for Wasps with substitute Owen Farrell missing a long penalty attempt before his 31-year-old team-mate charged over for his third try in the dying moments.

And McCall insists Strettle, who grabbed 11 tries in the Aviva Premiership last term, the second best behind Vereniki Goneva, scorer of a hat-trick himself on the opening weekend of the season for Leicester Tigers, has to be considered by England.

“There are a lot of wingers who Stuart [Lancaster] has used over the last 18 months,” added McCall.

“But David's try-scoring record has been as good as anybody's and he took his tries really well out there.

“We were a little disappointed with how we played; the first-half scoreline certainly flattered us. The problems were across the board – everything was a little bit off.

“But we showed enough class and enough quality and strength of character to come back a couple of times.

“The final play of the game was magnificently run, but we are sensible enough to know this wasn't our best performance and there's plenty to work on.

“This was our home game and it's important to win your games at home. We have some tough games on the road coming up, so getting some points on the board was really important and we're delighted we had enough.”

Meanwhile Wasps director of rugby Dai Young was left cursing his luck at the London Double Header after another late defeat at the opening weekend showcase, but found time to praise double try scorer Wade.

“It probably wouldn't be a London Double Header if we didn't lose the game in the last minute,” said Young, recalling memories of Andy Goode missing a last-gasp conversion in last season's 16-15 defeat to Harlequins while the same team overturned a huge deficit to win 42-40 in 2012.

“It's frustrating saying the same thing every week but we've struggled to find an 80-minute performance over the last 12 months.

“Our first 40 just wasn't good enough. We had enough possession but failed to really cause them lots of problems, and left ourselves a mountain to climb which was the story of last season.

“For 35 minutes in the second half we delivered what we talked about at half-time, but it's disappointing to lose as with three minutes to go we had it in our hands to win the game.

“Going forward Christian was good. Defensively I know he's a little disappointed that he felt a bit rusty. It's great to have him back, but we can't be predictable in trying to get him the ball too early.

“We've got to have some penetration and give him the ball in space; as if you give him any sort of space he's going to cause teams lots of problems.”

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