Oct 22, 2017
Frustrated McCall still seeking Sarries consistency
Mark McCall cut a frustrated figure in Saturday evening’s post-match press conference despite seeing his side secure five points in a 36-34 win over Ospreys in round two of the European Champions Cup.
In a European rugby humdinger, Saracens were off colour in a contrasting display from the Men in Black’s resounding win over Northampton Saints six days prior to Saturday evening clash against a patched-up Ospreys side who lost Lions duo Dan Lydiate and Justin Tipuric to injuries in the warm-up.
Saracens, usually miserly at home, conceded a try scoring bonus point for the only the second time since the club moved to Allianz Park in January 2013, with Wasps (Feb 2016) the only other side to so, and McCall was in no mood to gloss over the out of character display from the reigning European Champions.
Asked if he was pleased with his side’s performance, McCall was honest in his post-match assessment. “No (I wasn’t pleased), but I think we should be giving Ospreys all of the credit really, they played phenomenally tonight. I thought it was a very different game, we struggled to get quick ball, they (Ospreys) were fantastic on the attack and they put us under some real pressure.
“Tonight’s performance was consistent of what we’ve been like in other games. There were some greats bit of play out there, some great tries but some pretty ordinary pieces of play too, and that’s where we’ve been this season, apart from last week (against Northampton Saints).
"I thought we started okay, and in the first 20 minutes we put them under pressure and scored a good try, but I guess when things aren’t going your way sometimes your decision making with the ball can get looser and we weren’t as precise as we needed to be - but’s that’s rugby sometimes, that’s sport.
"At times we showed some real resilience, at one point we were 17-7 down heading into half-time, so get back to 17-17 at the break with the strong wind behind us in the in the second half was a good position to be in.”
“We talked about it this week that it might be like that, that the game might be frustrating but as long at the end of it all we found a way to win and a way to win with five points then we’re in a good position in the Pool.
In a highly entertaining contest between two side’s littered with household names, it was one of Saracens’ squad players who stole the limelight, with replacement Nick Tompkins picking up a well-deserved Man of the Match award. The Saracens academy graduate scored his side’s fifth and all-important score and his wonderful assist for Liam Williams’ second half try saw him awarded the champagne at the end of the match. Tompkins’ boss McCall was keen to praise the 22-year old centre.
“Nick did really well and we’re really pleased for him,” said McCall. “He’s showed the kind of big game temperament before, he played against the Scarlets this time last year and scored a great try and played very well against Toulon in the last Pool game here, so it’s great that he can get that kind of experience.
“He’s a young fella, and he’s getting better and better over time. We hope to expose him to more and more in the upcoming weeks.”