Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Mark McCall disappointed despite Saracens' winning start to the season

Mark McCall may have watched Saracens kick-off their Aviva Premiership title defence with a four-try bonus point 35-3 victory over Worcester at Twickenham but he was not amused by his side's performance.

Fly-half Alex Lozowski landed 20 points, with 14 of them coming in the second half, as Saracens went on the rampage for the opening twenty minutes of that period.

Debutant Lozowski, who signed for Saracens from Wasps this summer, scored a try and kicked three penalties and three conversions.

Hooker Jamie George, on his 150th appearance for the club, South African debutant Schalk Burger and replacement Ben Spencer got the other tries while Worcester's solitary response was a penalty from fly-half Ryan Lamb in the first-half.

It was only 6-3 in a first period to forget and that did not pass McCall by after the victory.

The Saracens director of rugby said: "Overall, I am probably not happy with that. I am happy we got five points and happy to get the win.

"It was a hugely rusty performance but we defended very well. Give Worcester credit for the way they played in that first-half. They were really physical and they made life difficult for us at the breakdown.

"But I was pretty calm at half-time and I thought we were pretty ruthless in that 15 minutes of the second-half and that set us up to get the win."

McCall was also happy with Lozowski's debut and the director of rugby faces a nice headache this week with England fly-half Owen Farrell likely to be in contention for the trip to Sandy Park on Sunday and a re-run of their Premiership final in May with Exeter.

McCall added: "He did very well. It is not always easy to be playing a debut and he managed the game very well. Owen is in contention for next week. He trained last week and we made the sensible decision that he was not quite right to come back."

It was tough on Worcester yet their head coach Carl Hogg, who took charge of the side after director of rugby Dean Ryan left in June, said his side battled well against the defending champions.

Hogg said: "There was a huge amount of character and effort in that first half given the amount of possession and territory that Saracens had.

"It was an even contest in that first-half but the amount of effort took its' toll in the second half."

Hogg believed Worcester could have given Saracens more of a run for their money but three tries straight after the break put paid to that.

"It is a disappointment. We talked (at half-time) about trying to get a foothold in the game and there were three or four opportunities in the first-half where we started a play in their half but we were not as accurate as we should have been," he added.

"But they are at the top end of Europe and they squeeze teams in," added Hogg who now has to patch up his side's morale ahead of a big clash with near neighbours Gloucester on Friday night.


From Belfast Telegraph