Dec 06, 2017
McCall Emphasises Importance of Strong Relationships
Mark McCall has said that his side’s recent run of results is nothing that the club hasn’t faced before and that he believes in his squad and their relationships with each-other to turn things around.
Saracens face Clermont-Auvergne at Allianz Park on Sunday afternoon in the Champions Cup in a repeat of the 2017 Final won by McCall’s side and the two-time winner of the competition explained why he believes in his team to turn things around, saying:
“Because of way that the season has finished for us the last three or four years, we’ve always had a difficult period in each of those seasons or we’ve had something to respond to.
“In 2016 it was the 60-point defeat by Wasps at home which wasn’t involved in any run but it was a hell of a thing to have to respond to and the year before that in 2015 we lost three games in a row towards the end of that season.”
He added: “In all of the years we have had to contend with things and have generally emerged from these things stronger.
“Our players are very experienced, they’ve been through all of the highs and lows along the way and have very strong relationships which become important at times like these.”
Sarries will be without Maro Itoje for the hotly anticipated clash on Sunday after the 23-year-old forward fractured his jaw in Sunday’s game against Harlequins and McCall provided an update on the forward’s prognosis.
He explained: “Maro had the operation on Sunday evening and sees the consultant tomorrow when we’ll find out how long he’ll be out for.
“It could be up to ten weeks but could also be a lot less than that; last season George Kruis was back within three or four weeks with a similar injury so it would be nice if it was the latter rather than the former.”
McCall was also able to provide an update on the squad’s other injuries and struck an optimistic tone with Billy Vunipola, Michael Rhodes, Duncan Taylor and Liam Williams close to a return.
“We haven’t got a huge amount out injured but they are all first-team players, and some pretty decent ones as well but it is what it is and we’ve got a good squad.
“The good news is that we’ve got a lot of players who are going to feel like new signings coming back pretty soon. Michael Rhodes had his first training session on Wednesday afternoon and he’ll be back within the next few weeks.”
McCall added: “Billy Vunipola will hopefully be back in four or five weeks and is ahead of schedule as he tends to be when injured, he had his first running session today and once Billy starts to run, it’s normally pretty quick after that.
“Schalk Brits is out until a little bit after that but Duncan Taylor is going to be back in the mix for next week and Liam Williams hopefully the week after that so we’ve got some pretty good players to bring back in.”