Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

McCall delighted with victory

Mark McCall

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was delighted his side kept the pressure on Aviva Premiership leaders Leicester with a 33-12 at Exeter.

The victory, a seventh league success in a row, kept them two points behind the Tigers after their first visit to Sandy Park. Rhys Gill, Chris Wyles and Noah Cato scored the Saracens tries, all converted by full-back Alex Goode who also landed three penalties, while Owen Farrell landed a well struck drop goal.

McCall said: "It was a very good because we know that before this game Exeter have only lost three home league games so for us to get any sort of win was great."

He added: "There were periods of time when we were certainly on the back foot, especially the first 10 minutes of the second half when the game was in the balance with us 13-5 in front but we defended brilliantly during that time.

"We soaked up the pressure and every time we got in their half we came away with some points and that was key. I think that we left a couple of tries out there but overall we are pleased with the result."

McCall believes a number of his players could be in Martin Johnson's initial squad of 60 to be announced in June for the World Cup, including prop Matt Stevens who has made a big impression since he joined the club in January.

The former Ireland centre added: "We are second in the Premiership, having won 16 out of 20 games, so we deserve to get some sort of recognition. There were six English qualified players in the backs and three on the bench."

The Chiefs had won 23-9 at Vicarage Road in October but they have now lost their last four games, three of them on the road and on Wednesday face an RFU disciplinary hearing and a possible points deduction.

"We have been taught a bit of a lesson by a team that are in good form," said Exeter's head coach Rob Baxter. "We made a lot of promises to ourselves during this season about enjoying the experience of the Premiership.

"But, the truth is, I think that we haven't really enjoyed the past two or three weeks because, for whatever reason, we are not playing right to the edge that we can do and we have just lost that a little."