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Mark McCall unhappy with the timing of England's fourth autumn international

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has described the scheduling of England's fourth autumn international as "ludicrous".

Eddie Jones' men only finished their end-of-year program on December 3, routing Australia to complete a clean sweep of victories that extended their winning run to 14 Tests.

However, the players immediately returned to their clubs to prepare for a weekend of Champions Cup action knowing their rivals from other home nations had been rested having completed their international duties seven days earlier.

George Kruis, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Owen Farrell were back to help Saracens overwhelm Sale 50-3 on Saturday, but McCall insists England's clubs have been placed at a disadvantage in Europe.

"For me it's ludicrous that the fourth international shouldn't be at the start of the window rather than the end. It's not fair on the Premiership clubs," McCall said.

"You're asking players to go again in the Champions Cup the weekend after they've played Australia.

"Ireland, Scotland and Wales were able to rest some of their players and you've maybe seen that in some of the other results this weekend - the wins by Munster and Leinster for example.

"We're incredibly fortunate that we've got the players to whom it means a lot to play for Saracens. They were magnificent, all of them.

"But I still don't think it's right that you continuously have to ask them to back up. In the long run, there shouldn't be a fourth international before a European match."

Kruis, who missed the wins over South Africa and Argentina due to an ankle problem, insists Saracens' England contingent feel an obligation to resume club hostilities as soon as possible.

"I'd say we get a lot of energy from coming back and looking at how hard the boys have worked.," Kruis said.

"They're putting big shifts in, when you lose a few players and you've got some injuries as well. When we come back, we've got to repay that favour.

"We were smart in how we dealt with training this week. We cut the week a bit shorter.

"But you do reach some emotional highs playing in these big games. The coaching team understand that and gave us an extra day off as well."


From Belfast Telegraph