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Paul Gustard would be sorely missed by Saracens - Mark McCall

Published 13/12/2015

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall says England target Paul Gustard would be sorely missed
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall says England target Paul Gustard would be sorely missed

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall admits defence coach Paul Gustard will be sorely missed should the comprehensive 45-10 Champions Cup win over Oyonnax prove to be his last at the club.

The Aviva Premiership champions maintained their 100 per cent record in Pool One as they ran in six tries against the tournament newcomers at Stade Charles Mathon.

There were scores for Alex Goode, Chris Wyles, Maro Itoje, Richard Wigglesworth and Schalk Brits, plus a penalty try and 13 points from the boot of Owen Farrell as the visitors eased to the victory.

Oyonnax's points came courtesy of a late try for replacement Arthur Aziza, a conversion from Regis Lespinas, and a penalty from Rory Clegg.

But the main talking point came when McCall revealed 39-year-old Gustard is a target for new England coach Eddie Jones, and could be confirmed as part of the new Red Rose set-up in the coming days.

"There has been an approach for Paul from the RFU and he is considering his position," said McCall.

"There will be a decision quickly between the RFU and the club. Paul is under contract for 18 months so I am sure that will be sorted out over the next couple of days.

"We have had a lot of good English coaches come through with us over the last number of years, we lost Andy Farrell to England a few years ago.

"We always want our players and our staff to get the chance to test themselves at international level and it is a great sign of the work we have done over the last five or six years.

"If he decides to go he will, of course, be sorely missed. When you have built a project like this you will have people who move on, be that players or coaches, and in that situation you have to keep motoring on, and that is what we will do."

While Gustard's renowned 'wolfpack' defence has become synonymous with Saracens, and led to accusations their play was too conservative, the English side's play this season has showcased an increasingly ambitious attacking game.

The tries from Goode and Wyles, in particular, were wonderful to behold and the full-back admits it is an area where they are making real strides.

"We are really coming alive when we get the ball in good positions at the moment, we are using our strike runners very well, we are getting them in the game and we are picking them out," he said.

"Guys like Chris Ashton are doing brilliantly in terms of the support lines they are running.

"We have had a young team over the last few years and we have grown together and added layers to our game.

"We have been close in this tournament before, we have our foundations, we are in a good place but we know there is a long journey ahead yet."

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