Mar 04, 2018
A much better performance - McCall
Mark McCall was happy with Saracens' improved performance but feels experience told in the 24-12 loss to Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.
The Men in Black, who were without several key players due to injury as well as those on international duty, suffered the loss of captain Brad Barritt and veteran wing Chris Wyles at the break as the hosts battled their way to victory.
Exeter were able to call on the likes of England forwards Alec Hepburn, Sam Simmonds and hooker Jack Yeandle to edge them over the line.
However, McCall was magnanimous in defeat and saw an improvement in his side’s display.
“We put a lot of effort into the game. It was a much better performance than we put in last week,” he told Saracens.com.
“I thought we fronted up really well and we can be encouraged by the way we defended at crucial times of the match.
“We just lacked a bit of composure at times and were a bit frantic. That’s what you get with some of the experience we lost in Brad Barritt and Chris Wyles at half-time.
“It is what it is. We know the calibre of our international players and those who aren’t here we expect them not to be here. But Vincent Koch, Will Skelton, Christopher Tolofua, Schalk Burger, Callum Clark and Michael Rhodes are players we do expect to be here.
“To lose six really good players from your pack, never mind Mako (Vunipola), Maro (Itoje) and Jamie George, is a lot to contend with and we saw they had a super bench to bring on in the second half.”
Academy product Ben Earl scored on his first Aviva Premiership start and George Kruis returned to marshal the pack.
Blair Cowan also came on for his Sarries debut and McCall found positives in the trio’s performances.
He said: “Ben was great. It was an unbelievable experience for him and he did really well. He carried the ball strongly and tackled well.
“Blair did really well coming off the bench and I thought George Kruis was a leader out there for us where we had a very young team in the second half.”