Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

McCall delighted with young stars

Saracens head coach Mark McCall paid tribute to the youngsters who stepped up to play a full part in the 17-13 win at Bath which propelled them to third place in the Aviva Premiership.

Teenage fly-half Owen Farrell showed remarkable maturity in steering his side to victory with his tactical kicking, not to mention a penalty and conversions of tries by Kameli Ratouvu and James Short. Centre Sam Stanley also performed superbly after coming off the bench after just 20 minutes.

"I thought the two guys played wonderfully well," McCall said. "So did Jackson Wray at number eight, 19 years old as well. He's been playing outstandingly well for Bedford in the Championship and now looks like a Premiership player."

McCall went as far as rating it among the best results since the new coaching regime was installed at Saracens under Brendan Venter.

"I think that's as pleasing a result, given the circumstances, as we have had in the 18 months we've been together," he said.

"It was all about showing unity. In that period of 30 minutes where we went 13-0 down, we had actually played quite well. I thought our line-out was exceptional. We thoroughly deserved to win the match."

For Bath head coach Steve Meehan, it was "one that got away" after his side led 13-0 with an opportunist try by Nick Abendanon and a conversion and two penalties from Olly Barkley.

Meehan said: "It's sometimes too easy to concentrate on the negatives. There were some real improvements in some of our play.

"At various times when we had our attacking shape and structure correct, we were a real threat. Defensively, on our line speed and our intensity in the 'hit', we were very strong. There was a lot of good that went on in 60 of the 80 minutes.

"In that first 20 minutes of the second half Saracens came out and upped the intensity of their game. We needed to match that and find parity in our game. Unfortunately, we allowed them to dictate it and they got a couple of tries. There were three fortuitous tries in the match, they scored two of them."


From Belfast Telegraph