Apr 29, 2017
Reaction: Mixed performance frustrates McCall
Saracens earned a bonus point 27-9 win over Bristol at Allianz Park on Saturday afternoon to keep hopes of a home semi-final alive but McCall admitted the performance fell short of his team's high standards.
Sarries dominated possession in the first-half but found themselves 3-9 down at the break. They rallied however and Petrus Du Plessis’ brace, his first ever tries, coupled with scores from Nick Tompkins and Chris Ashton earned a hard-fought victory for the hosts.
Despite this, Director of Rugby Mark McCall was eager to draw a line under what he described as a ‘disappointing’ performance despite a dominant win.
He said: “I think it was a really disappointing performance, I guess especially the first half but overall, we’ve got certain standards that we want to aspire to and we fell short of those today.”
“To give Bristol credit I think they really got stuck in, we were aware that they would because I thought against Wasps and Exeter in their last two performances they were really good and really physical in those games.
“As to our excuse, the week after that semi-final (against Munster), it was a big occasion and clearly today’s game wasn’t as important as last week’s but like I said we’ve got certain standards at the club and especially in the first-half today we fell well short of those.”
Overall though, the occasion will be remembered for being the last time Saracens legends, Kelly Brown and Neil De Kock would take to the pitch and McCall admitted that he would have hoped to have played better as he paid tribute to the departing players.
He explained: “The players are unbelievably disappointed really; but today was about two individuals really and the two incredible careers that they’ve had, they’re great rugby men.
“Saying goodbye to them, we probably would have liked to have played a little bit better but we didn’t on the other milestones of Schalk Brits’ 200th and Owen Farrell’s 150th as captain for the day.”