Sarries boss hails "heroic" defence

Date published: December 7 2014

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall heaped praise on his team’s defensive effort following Saturday’s narrow European win over Sale Sharks.

Saracens resisted a Sharks fight back to win 15-19 at the AJ Bell Stadium to keep the pressure on Clermont at the top of Pool One.

“I thought our defence in the last five minutes in our 22 was pretty heroic,” said McCall.

“There are a lot of the characteristics that I associate with this team that were on show throughout the game. There were times where we could have felt sorry for ourselves, and we didn’t. We know our performance wasn’t perfect, but it was a very important, and hopefully, vital win for us.

“They are a good team on a bit of a roll at the moment, and we came into today on the back of a few disappointing performances, and you could see that ‘anxiousness’ in our parts of performance in the second-half.

“We conceded some scrum penalties that hurt us in the last twenty minutes that gave them good field position, but we had some opportunities to kill the game off before that, that we just didn’t take.

“There was a lot about our performance that was pretty good to be honest. In the first half we were pretty happy with the way things were going. We know how difficult a place this is to come to, we know that Munster got away with a drop-goal in the last minute – so we’re very happy with the win.

McCall also priased Owen Farrell for his try-scoring performance at centre and then fly-half. The England playmaker has struggled to find his best form this season but kicked a crucial drop-goal.

“Owen’s great,” he said.

“He’s a brilliant young fella and a brilliant young player. He comes back to the club and he understands that he’s not played much rugby this year. With Charlie (Hodgson) off injured, it was wonderful to have someone of Owen’s calibre to see us home.