Belfast Telegraph

Here's to McCall making his Mark

By Steven Beacom

Ulster may have fallen by the wayside again when it came to the crunch, but there is still interest for rugby fans here in the remaining weeks of the season.

And not just to see if Brian O'Driscoll's glorious career ends with a Leinster victory over Glasgow in the RaboDirect PRO12 final next weekend.

This weekend, Saracens play Toulon in the Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium.

Toulon's Jonny Wilkinson, every bit as great as BOD, is also retiring at the end of the current campaign, so there will be plenty of neutral support for the French team in the hope the perfect 10 will go out on a high.

Here in Northern Ireland, though, we ought to be getting behind the English outfit, led by Bangor man Mark McCall.

It is possible over the course of the next fortnight that McCall could end up guiding his side to Heineken Cup and English Premiership triumphs, akin to Arsenal winning the Champions League and Premier League in the same season.

McCall is the Director of Rugby at Saracens and across the water has received much praise for the dramatic upturn in the club's fortunes.

It's a far cry from November 2007 when he cut a disconsolate figure the day he resigned as coach of Ulster, 18 months after inspiring the team to Celtic League success, which incidentally remains the last time a trophy was brought to Ravenhill.

Even if it means watching Chris Ashton performing one of his annoying swallow dives after scoring a try, here's to a victory for Saracens and McCall in Cardiff on Saturday.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph