Feb 28, 2015
McCall hails massive result
Director of rugby Mark McCall believes his sides 22-17 win over Newcastle Falcons is a massive result for the club.
Saracens headed into the Round 16 Premiership clash off the back of disappointing result against Sale Sharks last weekend, McCall was happy that his side returned to winning ways in a game where Saracens were made to work extremely hard for the four points.
Speaking after the game, McCall said: "That was massive for us, it wasn't really a good performance but it's very important that we got the points. Today wasn’t really about the performance it was about getting the win. We must have been in their 22 for 70% of the time, but we looked a bit blunt when we were there. I was disappointed with their maul tries, and disappointed that our maul wasn’t better, but delighted that we got four points.
"We had a lot missing, and we don’t tend to talk about that, but then to lose both Charlie Hodgson and (Neil) de Kock at the same time was a huge blow.
“Charlie (Hodgson) was a bit of a gamble going into today, but we thought it was a gamble worth taking. He re-tweaked his hamstring, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be available for next week. But we have a little bit of breathing space after next week for him to get back to fitness, with the LV=Cup Semi-Final and the Final the weekend after, so we’re looking to get him fit for Harlequins at Wembley.
"I thought the two half-backs that came on were outstanding, a special mention for Ben Spencer for controlling the game the way he did and the goals he kicked.
“Ben has been the most patient man at the club because he's behind many, he doesn't complain and he works unbelievably hard.
"He's seen examples of people who have waited for the chance and are now playing every week. He’s seen the example of guys like Jamie George, who has had to wait behind guys like Schalk Brits and John Smit, and now Jamie is playing every week and that will happen to Ben as well.”
McCall also reserved praise for Man of the Match Maro Itoje, after the Saracens bolter produced a imperious display in the heart of the Sarries engine room.
Speaking about the Saracens 20 year old lock forward, McCall said: “I thought Maro was really good. Sometimes when you are that age, and you come into a team with a lot of senior people around you, you can play within yourself and not play your own game. We felt that at Sale the other week he did that a little, he still played well but not quite himself. Today I thought he imposed himself physically, he imposed himself vocally and he played like a real leader. Some of his collision work with and without the ball was extraordinary."
He added: “Everyone seems to be talking about him, but the good thing is he’s a really level headed kind of guy and he’s doing really well.”