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McCall remains grounded

07 March 2011

  • Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall remains grounded despite win at Leicester
  • Returning England flanker Tom Croft plays 65 minutes for the Tigers
Martin Castrogiovanni of Leicester Tigers faces off against Saracens' Matt Stevens in the scrum

Photo: Getty Images

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall insists that his side will not get carried away with their 15-14 win over Aviva Premiership table-toppers Leicester.

Sarries, currently second in the league, are now just two points behind the Tigers after five penalties from Alex Goode propelled them to a narrow victory.

But McCall believes there is much more to come from last season's runners-up and always expected the clash at Welford Road to be a battle of attrition.

"We weren't cock-a-hoop in the dressing room," he said after the match.

"We have played much better than we did today but that is how you have to play against Leicester at Welford Road, it was a real arm wrestle, neither side could get away from the other and we just came out on the right end of it.

"We said before the game that there would be moments when they would have the momentum and a lot of teams get overwhelmed by that, and it's important to be able to rise to that.

"We were disappointed with how we defended in the first half, we didn't feel we got off the line like we had been doing and we missed a couple of tackles along the way, but we were better in the second half and that was a big factor in the win.

McCall praises Alex Goode

Saracens' Alex Goode lines up a kick

Photo: Getty Images

"Today was about who could play in the opposition half more and we just about won that battle. But this win just means we are four points closer to making sure we make the play-offs, which is all we are interested in."

The visitors could not find a way over the try line and had to rely on the boot of Goode, with McCall duly heaping praise on the match-winner.

He added: "He is more like the Alex Goode at the end of last season. The last four or five weeks his kicking has been excellent and he was backed up by an excellent display by the pack. I thought we scrummed very well today too."

Leicester had a chance to snatch victory themselves at the death but Billy Twelvetrees sent a penalty attempt from out on the left wide of the posts.

"Kickers win you games, they don't lose you games," Tigers boss Richard Cockerill said.

"If Billy kicks that we are having a different conversation. It's not his fault, that's life sometimes. The team did not play as well as we needed to across the board.

"We had enough chances to win the game and we didn't take them. We didn't control the ball well enough and it cost us.

"They don't play too much but that is their choice and today the luck fell their side and sometimes it happens that way."

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