Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

McCall hails attitude of England stars

Mark McCall was delighted with his England contingent against Quins

Saracens boss Mark McCall paid tribute to his England players who bounced back from the crushing Six Nations defeat by Wales to help the Aviva Premiership leaders comprehensively beat defending champions Harlequins 27-12 at Allianz Park.

Owen Farrell contributed 17 points, while Alex Goode, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt, and Mako Vunipola all played their parts in a victory which was more convincing than the scoreline suggests.

"I've got to take my hat off to our English guys who had a difficult weekend last weekend. All of them, to a man, wanted to play today," said director of rugby McCall. "It says a lot about the the environment and the general group that they are so keen to come back and enjoy it so much - but some of our non-internationals were pretty good today as well."

McCall added: "We know our season didn't hinge on today.

"But as a team we played really well. Our tackling game caused them some problems and we scored our tries at the right times."

Conor O'Shea, the Harlequins director of rugby, admitted his side had under-performed on a day when the temperature failed to rise above zero.

"Very disappointed," said O'Shea. "No excuses in terms of the weather.

"We made too many errors and turned the ball over without really building any phases.

"Physically we were beaten, which is irritating beyond belief. We always pride ourselves on saying results don't matter but performances do - and we didn't perform today.

"We'll learn our lesson but the championship isn't decided today. They were worthy winners but we didn't perform anywhere close to what we know we are capable of. What we have to make sure is we play the way we can. We didn't today and you credit that to Saracens - they were excellent - but we will see them again."

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