McCall surprised by Sarries’ victory margin

Date published: October 19 2015

Saracens boss Mark McCall has admitted even he was taken aback by the size of their 41-3 win over Sale Sharks – but has urged his side not to let their early momentum slip.

Mike Ellery staked his claim for a regular berth on his Premiership debut by dotting down twice and Charlie Hodgson collected a 14-point haul as the defending champions ran riot at Allianz Park.

New boy Michael Rhodes, Tim Streather and the fit-again Will Fraser also crossed on a thoroughly disappointing day for Sale, whose only score came through a Danny Cipriani penalty.

Sarries' next challenge is under the Friday night lights at Kingsholm, however, it will be against a Gloucester side who recorded their own opening-night triumph at Newcastle Falcons.

And McCall is expecting the Cherry and Whites to be a bigger force in David Humphreys' second season in charge.

"It wasn't the score I was expecting," said McCall of Saturday's win.

"We have been pretty poor in our pre-season matches, but we showed the better side of our game.

"We played very well with our game being based on a solid foundation. Our set-piece was of a very high level and defensively we were really good."

He added: "Gloucester are a vastly improved team and will have (England duo) Jonny May and Ben Morgan back in their line-up.

"I have been impressed with their pre-season and it will be a very tough task at Kingsholm."

Sale rallied in the second-half after going in 27-3 down, but it represented a bad day at the office for Steve Diamond's troops.

Diamond admits that he is keen to forget and move on as they return to their fortress, the AJ Bell Stadium, to take on Worcester Warriors in Round Two.

"We have had a nice summer, but it was a reality check and we didn't deliver," he said.

"We were never going to recover after the first 25 minutes as we made error after error, so it will be back to the drawing board.

"It was one of those days. We got drilled at the scrums and couldn't get any momentum or ball, but we did improve a bit in the second-half."