Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Bonus point boost for McCall

Saracens boss Mark McCall was thrilled to see his side secure a much-needed bonus point victory against Harlequins in front of a world record crowd at Wembley Stadium.

Sarries stormed to a five-try demolition over their London rivals in a 42-14 victory to keep in touch with Aviva Premiership leaders Northampton.

"We've scored three tries eight times in the Premiership this season so it would have been unbelievably depressing to do that again," said McCall.

"We hope those lost bonus points along the way don't come back to haunt us, but it was very important for us to get that fifth point today."

McCall's side recovered from conceding an early Jack Clifford try to post an impressive 42-14 triumph thanks to a brace of tries apiece from Chris Ashton and man of the match Chris Wyles with England number eight Billy Vunipola crashing over in the final stages.

"The first minute didn't go very well," McCall said.

"That was a big blow and we've had to deal with a couple of big blows in the last few games.

"I thought we were OK for the first 15 or 20 minutes. I think the second part of the first half was as good as we've been all season. I thought we counter-attacked really well. We looked really dangerous."

After thrilling 84,068 spectators at the national stadium, Sarries will now turn their attention to next Sunday's European Champions Cup quarter-final clash against Racing Metro in Paris.

An enormous task awaits, but the north Londoners will by buoyed by the return of all-action hooker Schalk Brits who McCall confirmed should be available for selection.

Brits has been out of action since he suffered a knee injury in Saracens' 30-23 Champions Cup victory against Clermont Auvergne in October.

"Schalk Brits should be available for selection next week," McCall added.

"We've watched them (Racing Metro) closely in the last week. Especially their game at Franklin's Gardens. They were tremendous that day. They've got superb half backs and a big pack of forwards.

"But we'll go there quite buoyant. We've won five games in a row. We're in good spirits."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea admitted that his side are lacking in confidence following their trashing at Wembley.

Quins have struggled for form for large parts of this season and are languishing in eighth place with four rounds of the league remaining.

"We're just too easy to knock off our stride at the moment," O'Shea said.

"We went into the Six Nations window just two points off the top four having been knocked out of Europe the way we were.

"It's incredibly disappointing. We will come out the other side. It's been a really difficult couple of months."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph