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Mark McCall: Saracens deserve bigger attendances

Published 13/04/2016

Saracens director of Rugby Mark McCall is disappointed by the number of fans who attended the Champions Cup victory over Northampton
Saracens director of Rugby Mark McCall is disappointed by the number of fans who attended the Champions Cup victory over Northampton

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall insists Europe's form team deserve better crowds than those seen at Allianz Park this season.

McCall has revealed that his players were disappointed only 8,050 were present for the 29-20 Champions Cup quarter-final victory over Northampton on Saturday.

Under tournament guidelines, the English champions needed to provide a capacity of 15,000 but this was waived when it became apparent the extra seats would not be required.

On Saturday they will host Harlequins at Wembley Stadium with 77,000 tickets already sold - generating revenue of over £1million - and McCall questions why a larger number of those fans fail to attend fixtures at Allianz Park.

"The players would love to have run out in front of a full house against Northampton, there's no question of that," McCall said.

"The players have done enough over the last five years to warrant full houses because it's not as though there aren't some good players to come and watch. They're winning a lot of games.

"It was a disappointment for the playing group that the ground wasn't full and we want some of the people at Wembley to come along on a week to week basis."

Saracens qualified for the knockout phase with six group victories, guaranteeing they would face Northampton at Allianz Park.

"We worked so hard be at home for the home quarter-finals because we've been away for the same stage for the last two years," McCall said.

"It was an unbelievable atmosphere in Ulster in 2014 when 18,000 people turned up. It was magic.

"The people who were there on Saturday did well because it was a good atmosphere, but the playing group deserved a bit more."

The crowd at Allianz Park was not helped by the small number of Northampton supporters who made the 61-mile journey to Barnet.

An allocation of 3,500 was made available to Saints but 2,850 of these were returned - a surprise given the size of the fixture, the rivalry between the teams and their proximity.

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