May 25, 2016
Battle Hardened Saracens ready to go 'toe-to-toe' says McCall
Mark McCall has praised his side’s fortitude and stamina ahead of Saturday’s Aviva Premiership final against Exeter Chiefs.
The three-time Guinness Director of Rugby of the Year could record his 100th Premiership victory as Saracens director of rugby if the North Londoners secure back-to-back Aviva Premiership titles on Saturday. Despite the potential personal milestones, McCall is keen to praise his side’s collective effort in what he explains has been a mammoth 47 week season.
“Our group have been phenomenal through the year,” said McCall ahead of Saracens fifth Premiership final in the last seven years. “In the 32 games we’ve played this year we’ve show a consistency in our approach, we’ve fronted up day in day out, week in week out. We’ve used so many players this campaign (43), to finish the season at the top of the Aviva Premiership with 80 points and to win the Champions Cup it required a lot of effort from all the staff and the players. This is now our 47th week, we started back in preseason on the 6th July and now it’s the end of the 47th week and nobody’s flagged, everyone has enjoyed coming into work and that’s a really good place to be.”
Saracens could become the first club side in England to record a domestic and European double since Wasps in 2004 if they overcome an Exeter Chiefs side whose progress under Rob Baxter from the second tier of English rugby to the Premiership showpiece has won the Devon side many admirers, including McCall himself.
“Rob and all of his team should take a huge amount of credit for the excellent development they have made as a Club,” said McCall. “They’re a phenomenally well-drilled side. They have a real balance to their team with some kids who have come through the Academy who have turned into brilliant rugby players, two halfbacks who are as good as anybody in the competition and a pack who can mix it at the set-piece. They’re a top side and they’ve proven that over the season and it’s going to be one hell of a final.
"They beat us twice last season, and we’ve won twice this season so we are both used to beating each other but the important thing is what happens on Saturday. It’s going to be a really good game, two very good sides, two hard-working sides going toe-to-toe and we know what is at stake. Our challenge at the start of the week was to be as prepared as we could be, as prepared as we were for the Racing 92 game, we’ve had a good couple of days but what happens on Saturday is everything.
He added: “We’re back into our usual routine, it’s been a lot more normal for us this week so I expect us to go into the game more prepared this weekend.”