Mark McCall hails Saracens’ defensive performance in Sale Sharks success
Liam Williams touched down and Ben Spencer kicked eight points for Saracens.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall hailed his side’s defensive efforts after they moved to the top of the Aviva Premiership following a 13-3 triumph at Sale Sharks.
Liam Williams touched down and Ben Spencer kicked eight points as the visitors kept the hosts tryless after limiting them to few opportunities.
With the Londoners missing their internationals because of the Natwest 6 Nations, McCall was delighted by their rearguard effort against the Sharks.
“We had to do a lot of defending in the second half,” he said.
“There were clearly areas of our game which could have been better and our set-piece was a bit wobbly at times but, in terms of fighting for each other, our defence in the last 30 minutes of the game was magnificent.
“We got ourselves an important lead early in the game but to defend the lead the way we defended was brilliant.
“We were really pleased with how we came up here and fronted up. It’s a difficult place to come and, with it being the middle of the Six Nations, we were absolutely chuffed with the effort the players put in.”
McCall was also pleased that they managed to continue their momentum during the Six Nations period as his side followed up last weekend’s victory over Newcastle with another impressive triumph.
He added: “In the last couple of seasons we’ve found these international windows quite difficult. We’ve also had a lot of injuries on top of that and this time last year we lost the first two games of this window.
“We’re all in a race to get into the top four. We’re on 53 points, which is not bad, and we’ve got seven games to get as many as we can to get into the top four or get a home semi-final. These last two wins are going to be very important come the final shake-up.”
Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond was disappointed by his team’s performance after their excellent run of form was halted.
“We didn’t play particularly well,” Diamond said. “We coughed the ball up too often and against sides like Saracens they will strangle you if you do that.
“We’ve won five out of six games and we’ve come across a very good side and they’ve shown with their defence that they can close us down.
“We’re a good side, we don’t do what other sides do and whinge about injuries but we’ve got Sam James, who’s a fantastic centre, playing 10 and with AJ (MacGinty) and James O’Connor not fit at the minute, sometimes – against the top sides – we can be a little bit found out.
“It’s putting no blame on his shoulders, it’s just a lack of playing in that position and having the ability to find territory when you can’t play through them.”