May 23, 2015
McCall salutes his troops after semi-final win
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall praised his side's effort and endeavour after the Allianz Park outfit beat fierce rivals Northampton Saints to book their place in the Aviva Premiership final.
Played at a unrelenting intensity, the semi-final clash between the regular league leaders and McCall's side will go down as a modern day Premiership classic. Tries from David Strettle and Jamie George plus the ice-cool kicking of Owen Farrell was enough to see off the reigning champions, with Saracens coming away from Franklin's Gardens with a 29-24 win.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, a proud McCall said: "It was a huge semi-final. There was unbelievable intensity from both teams and we're immensely proud of our team to have come to a very difficult place like this and to have done enough to win the game and give the effort that we gave. We're delighted and we're looking forward to next week now.
"I think that there are big games in us, and we haven't always shown that this season, but at times we have like when we beat Munster at Allianz Park and when we beat Wasps at the Ricoh Arena, but today that was Saracens out there. The way we hunted people down, the way we worked for each other, the way we got off the floor and the way we put in effort upon effort upon effort. We made up for it against a very good team. It's an important win for us and lets hope we can bring that level of energy next week.
"We took some gambles today. Duncan Taylor hasn't played a lot of rugby but his attributes were needed today and he really delivered for us. We had a lot of sickness around the group this week, Schalk Brits was unable to take his place today, Chris Ashton suffered in the week and a number of others were sick, but they fronted up unbelievably out there today."
"We've learned over the last couple of seasons that finishing at the top of tree unfortunately doesn't win you anything. It probably should, but it doesn't. Saints are a club that we admire a lot, they've been at the top for the last four seasons and have been getting in semi-finals and finals which is exactly what we aspire to do. This is now our fourth Premiership final in six seasons, it would be nice to win another one but that is a week away and we have to concentrate on the week ahead now.
Looking ahead to next week's showpiece at Twickenham Stadium against Bath, McCall added: "You get nothing for how many times you've been in a final or what happened last year. It's all about how you perform on the day, and we did today. If we can nail that then we won't be far away.
"Despite all the injury problems we've had throughout the nine months I think we're going to arrive to the final with no injury problems which is a good place to be."