London Irish try double before break left Saracens with ‘mountain to climb’ - McCall
10:38 09 February 2014
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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was left to rue a decisive three minutes before the break when London Irish struck twice on their way to becoming the first team to beat his side at Allianz Park in a regular Premiership match.
The Exiles saw two men sin-binned in a first half that Sarries dominated but they still trailed 22-8 at the break thanks to tries from Matt Parr, Alex Lewington and George Skivington – the last two in quick-fire fashion.
Marcelo Bosch’s try had given Sarries an early lead and while Schalk Brits crossed the line five minutes before the end of the match they failed to overhaul the Exiles.
It left the door open for Northampton Saints who secured a slender 17-16 win at Exeter in a late kick-off to leapfrog the Hendon side at the summit of the league.
McCall admitted afterwards that his side needed to strike when Irish were twice reduced to 14 men.
“The result is disappointing,” he said. “With five minutes to go till half-time it was 10-8 and we were going to have the wind in the second half and I think we would have taken that.
“But then we lost 12 points in the last three minutes before half-time and that gave us a mountain to climb.
“We dominated the first 20 to 25 minutes of the game. We had a lot of lineouts and scrums five metres from their line.
“The referee gave a couple of yellow cards in that period. Clearly you want to come away with some points like we have done all season but we couldn’t do it.”