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McCall upset with late penalty


Rhys Gill was penalised late on against Leicester

Rhys Gill was penalised late on against Leicester

Rhys Gill was penalised late on against Leicester

Saracens boss Mark McCall believes the officials robbed his side of an Aviva Premiership victory at Leicester by giving a last minute penalty to the wrong side.

Sarries were leading 21-18 at Welford Road when they destroyed Leicester's scrum 30 metres from their own line, replacement loosehead Rhys Gill catapulting the Tigers tighthead, Fraser Balmain, upwards.

But the touch judge penalised Gill for not scrummaging squarely and Leicester fly-half Owen Williams kicked his seventh penalty to earn his side two points.

McCall, Saracen's director of rugby, said: "I thought it was a penalty for us, it's obvious to most people who have watched it.

"You are required to stay square, which he (Gill) did. Their tighthead is under pressure and he goes three metres in the air so you have nothing to scrummage against. Most people could see what happened."

The two points lifted Saracens into joint second place, while Leicester moved onto the same points as Sale and Gloucester but are still rooted in the bottom half of the table.

McCall blamed Saracens' indiscipline for allowing Leicester to keep in touch on a filthy, rainy day when their former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson not only kicked seven penalties but constantly pegged the Tigers back with his kicking out of hand.

He said: "With 45 seconds to go, of course you are going to be disappointed that it's taken away from you.

"But we should never have been in that position. It was a very tight game, a bit of an arm wrestle, but we seemed to have the edge all game.

"Every time we got ourselves six points up we found a way to allow them back into the game. Our discipline was not up to standard."

Leicester boss Richard Cockerill praised 22-year-old Welshman Williams for keeping his nerve to earn Leicester a vital draw in a dour game.

"He missed one before half time, which was pretty rubbish," he said.

"But one thing about Owen, he's not flaky, he is mentally tough and I had no doubts about that kick."

Cockerill said captain Brad Thorne was right to keep asking Williams to kick penalties on a day when neither side created a try scoring chance.

"Yes,100 per cent," he said. "Get the tee on, kick the goals and take the two points. That extra point will be crucial in the mix-up.

"If you had given me a draw before the game I'd have taken it. They are a good team, we have got a bit of firepower missing and the conditions didn't help.

"We are pleased with the two points. There wasn't much rugby played. It was a tight game which could have gone either way. A draw was probably fair in the end."