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Saracens boss Mark McCall praises the effort in 'extraordinary' win over Toulon

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall expressed his pride as he reflected on an "extraordinary" 10-3 Champions Cup victory over Toulon at Allianz Park.

The Pool Three rivals both qualified for the knockout phase, although it is the reigning champions who have claimed a home quarter-final after extending their record unbeaten run in Europe to 15 matches.

Victory was delivered despite a lengthy injury list that includes England internationals Billy and Mako Vunipola and George Kruis.

"What we like to judge ourselves on are simple things, most of all effort," McCall said.

"Everyone knows who we are missing through injury and the disruption that has caused, but for us to go toe-to-toe against an almost a full-strength side and show that effort, especially defensively, was extraordinary.

"There were some coming of age performances out there like Nick Tompkins who was up against two world class centres (Ma'a Nonu and Mathieu Bastareaud) and was magnificent.

"Jack Wray was magnificent as well. Jackson has been good for a while and maybe doesn't get what he deserves, but eventually if he keeps on playing like that he will."

Chris Ashton scored the critical try in the 60th minute when he ran between Nonu and Matt Giteau.

"It was a great finish from Chris and when we needed it most, he produced," McCall said.

The great European rivals could meet again in the quarter-finals - the line-up will be confirmed on Sunday afternoon - and Toulon head coach Mike Ford believes the momentum would be with his three-time winners if that scenario unfolds.

"That was a great game, a real power game. How we didn't score I don't know and in the second half we have to credit Saracens' defence," Ford said.

"We had to score in the first 10 to 15 minutes when we had all that pressure, but we didn't so we got a bit nervous.

"At the back of our minds we needed the bonus point and we got that. After the first round if someone had said we'd qualify from this group, I'd have taken that.

"We could come back here in the quarter-finals and if that happens we'll both have full sides and we'll be a lot better.

"If we came back here we'd back ourselves with the type of squad we've got. Few teams will fancy us in the quarter-finals."


From Belfast Telegraph