May 24, 2014
Disappointed McCall backs side to respond
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has backed his side to respond in next weeks Aviva Premiership final after Saracens were beaten by a strong RC Toulon side 23-6 in the Heineken Cup final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.
"Obviously we are disappointed," said the 46-year-old, "but we're proud of the effort we put in - we did some good things today.
"One of the great qualities of the group is our ability to respond to setbacks that we've had. If we were playing Newcastle away next week I'd back our group to front up, never mind the fact we're playing in the Premiership final - I've got no question whatsoever that we'll give a good account of ourselves next Saturday".
Saracens took the lead after two minutes with an Owen Farrell penalty, but were trailing 10-3 at half-time after a Matt Giteau try and five points from the boot of England World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson, and McCall believed that Giteau's first-half score changed the flow of the game in the French sides favour.
"I think we came up against an exceptional side today who were on top of their game. It seemed that in the first half they we gave as good as we got, we had a decent amount of field position during that time and they defended superbly well. They had one opportunity, a counter attack if we are honest, and a bit of genius from Matt Giteau and a bounce of the ball and somehow you're seven points behind and didn't feel that way.
"I often felt that we were right in the game, we did well to get ourselves to 10-6, and even at 13-6 we though that were massively still in the game but their second try was a killer".
He added:"Despite the fact there was 20 minutes to go, when you go behind 20-6 to a side that defends as good as them , it's very difficult to come back from".