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Mark McCall: Saracens ready for clash with Aviva Premiership leaders Wasps

Published 08/10/2016

Mark McCall is preparing Saracens for an Aviva Premership clash with Wasps
Mark McCall is preparing Saracens for an Aviva Premership clash with Wasps

Mark McCall has detected an edge about his Saracens players in the build-up to Sunday's showdown against the main pretenders to their Aviva Premiership throne.

Wasps' 100 per cent record - the only one still standing in the league - will be placed on the line when they visit a sold-out Allianz Park in an early season collision between the two favourites to be crowned champions next May.

Injury and suspension have robbed Saracens of three England internationals in their backline in Owen Farrell, Alex Goode and Chris Ashton, but McCall senses the profile of the fixture is ensuring minds remain focused.

"I just felt something different in training on Thursday that we haven't had for a couple of weeks. There was a nice edge to us," the director of rugby said.

"The group we have enjoy these types of games and gets excited by them. That's as it should be."

Wasps are averaging over five tries per match in their five Premiership games this season and last weekend they routed Harlequins 47-18.

"They're good - very, very good. They do everything well. They defend really well and are a very mobile and athletic defensive team," McCall said.

"Their set piece is coming on leaps and bounds and they also attack, especially from broken field situations, better than anybody else in the league.

"If you make mistakes, they capitalise on them. They're a really tough ask for us.

"We're not at full strength in our backline at the moment but the players who are there are doing a great job for us as well."

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young believes his players are still tapping into their potential and views Sunday's match as a gauge for their progress since last season.

"I'm really pleased with the start we've made and the exciting part is, I still think there's more to come from the team - there are a few areas we need to improve on and we're nowhere near the finished article," Young said.

"This game will be a massive test for us and will really show us how far we've come since the end of last season or how much work there is still to do.

"We played Saracens in the European Champions Cup semi-final last season and they were worthy winners. We probably came second best in most departments.

"It will be interesting to see how much we've improved and whether we have closed that gap and whether we can really push them."

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