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McCall hails 'outstanding' Hodgson

Saracens rugby director Mark McCall hailed fly-half Charlie Hodgson's kicking as "outstanding" as the reigning champions beat Northampton 18-12 to close in on Aviva Premiership leaders Harlequins.

Saracens now trail Quins by four points thanks to six penalties from six attempts from England stand-off Hodgson.

"Charlie was outstanding. His place-kicking was exemplary and his game-management tremendous, particularly when we came under pressure in the first half," said McCall.

"All Charlie can do in terms of England selection is what he did, perform to a high standard.

"He has got himself back in contention for the England squad and England now have a decision to make with both Charlie and Toby Flood fit again and available.

"I am really chuffed for the club because we are still in second place in the table and now we go to Abu Dhabi for a short break and to freshen up."

Northampton rugby director Jim Mallinder left Vicarage Road disappointed, but glad not to return home empty handed.

"Charlie Hodgson kicked everything that came his way, Stephen Myler was less accurate on the day, but we did take home a losing bonus point," Mallinder said.

"We got forward dominance early on but then Saracens came back strongly. They are a quality squad and you expect nothing less there. It is interesting to see how players react when they return from time with the England squad. And we are still in the top four and looking forward to playing in the LV=Cup semi-final next weekend.

"I believe it is important to keep playing rugby, so I'm glad we don't have a break coming up. I am also very glad to see Tom Wood back in a Northampton jersey. He's been out since January 6 so it is important we are careful with him as he gets back in the swing."

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