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McCall talks up Strettle England claims

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall pressed David Strettle's claims for an England recall after the winger's superb performance in a stunning Aviva Premiership win at Leicester.

Strettle scored two of his side's four second-half tries as Saracens turned a 17-6 half-time deficit into a 32-27 victory - their fourth on the trot at Welford Road - to stay in second place. McCall thinks Strettle is ready to step in if England opt to recall him for their next RBS 6 Nations clash against Italy.

"He is really on form at the moment," McCall said. "He has had a great two or three months with us, he's one of the form wingers and is in the EPS squad. They know what he can do."

Winger James Short and full-back Chris Wyles scored the other second-half tries while fly-half Charlie Hodgson kicked 12 points. Leicester dominated the first half and scored tries through Julian Salvi and Dan Bowden but were completely outplayed after the interval before launching a grandstand finish which resulted in a penalty try and a yellow card for Strettle.

McCall said: "It was a game of two halves, we did not turn up in the first and at 17-3 down just before half-time we had a mountain to climb, especially being at Welford Road.

"Leicester were on form at that point and we did incredibly well to turn it round in the second half. We were average in everything we did in the first half, we lost a lot of collisions and did not do the things we normally do.

"The dressing room was calm at half-time and the players said we needed to be much better in the second half and we were."

Leicester have had a miserable eight days, having lost to champions Harlequins last week, and suffered for having a weaker bench than Saracens due to losing a host of players to the Six Nations.

Director of rugby Richard Cockerill admitted he was down to the bare bones but had no complaints and praised Saracens for their second-half fightback.

He said: "We controlled field position and the game in the first half. And the score reflected that. In the second half it was a complete role reversal and you have to give credit to Saracens. They played well and put us under pressure and we could not cope with it."


From Belfast Telegraph