Itoje’s England chance not far away

Date published: January 31 2016

Saracens boss Mark McCall is confident that Maro Itoje's time with England will come soon after a Man of the Match performance in Saturday's win over Bath.

Itoje was left out of Eddie Jones' 23-man training squad this week and responded in style for the Premiership champions, producing a number of impressive carries at Allianz Park.

"If Maro keeps on playing like that, I'm sure he'll get an opportunity. I thought he was really good in the second half, every carry made a difference," McCall said.

"We were very composed at half-time, Brad Barritt led the team magnificently. We didn't think we played too badly in the first half. We just needed to pressurise them, use the wind and improve our set-piece.

"Once we got in front I thought we were magnificent, we had 15 minutes of almost perfect rugby."

McCall also highlighted the impact of young USA international prop Titi Lamositele, who helped steady the scrum.

"One of the turning points was when we brought Titi on," he added. "Titi is 21 years old and plays tighthead for the USA, he comes on at loosehead and changes the game."

Meanwhile, Bath head coach Mike Ford took great pride from the way Bath established a 13-0 half-time lead, whilst also airing his frustration at the way Saracens cynically conceded penalties in the second half.

"I'm proud of the first half, proud of the performance, the boys got stuck in," Ford said.

"There's 13 league games left for us, there's another two before we reach half-way. We have to accumulate to get to the top four and we're going to go for it.

"Saracens conceded six penalties from mauls and didn't get anyone in the sin-bin, not even a talking to.

"(Richard) Wigglesworth kicks it dead from the halfway line, it's our scrum feed and the referee rules that it's us to be penalised on our own ball and we're under pressure again. It's small margins and you need that rub of the green with the referee."