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Old guard please Saracens boss Mark McCall


Mark McCall reserved praise for Saracens' senior players

Mark McCall reserved praise for Saracens' senior players

Mark McCall reserved praise for Saracens' senior players

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall praised his senior players after a side short on internationals overcame full-strength Sale at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Despite scoring three excellent tries in the 28-13 triumph, the visitors had to put in a stout defensive shift led by their veteran campaigners.

McCall said: "It was great because a lot of our experienced players were outstanding today: Schalk Brits, Schalk Burger, Brad Barritt.

"I could name quite a few of them.

"We were really pleased to pick up the points and really pleased with a lot of aspects of the performance, in terms of the qualities we want to show every week.

"Our maul defence five metres from our line was outstanding. It's normally a big strength of theirs but Jim Hamilton and the rest of the forwards did a great job."

McCall also hailed the performance of fly-half Alex Lozowski, who stepped into Owen Farrell's shoes effortlessly.

He kicked 13 points and set up the third try seven minutes from time with a superbly instinctive run and offload.

"He looked really sharp out there," McCall added. "He ran the ball beautifully and passed well so he's a good player.

"We got a couple of long-range tries out there, but we were alive to the situation and capitalised."

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond believed that an inability to execute in crucial areas was the reason for their defeat to the defending Aviva Premiership champions.

"We looked like we tried a little bit too hard and we gave a lot of penalties away in the first half," Diamond said. "We just needed some composure.

"I thought we were beaten by the better side. We trained well all week but we didn't really convert those training sessions into a performance today."

Despite admitting that Saracens deserved the victory Diamond did have issues with the London-based outfit's second try, which came from a Sharks set-piece on the opposition 22.

He added: "We didn't overthrow the lineout, it was a set move, it was just that Schalk Brits was five yards offside to intercept, but that's the way things go.

"We scored against Leicester with the same move, we've just got to apply ourselves and come with the right mentality. One or two of our players are probably thinking that they're a little bit better than they are at the minute."