Search

Mark McCall hails Joel Tomkins’ return as Saracens see off Exeter

21:39 23 February 2014

Joel Tomkins of Saracens looks to escape the Exeter defence. Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Joel Tomkins of Saracens looks to escape the Exeter defence. Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

2014 Getty Images

Saracens boss Mark McCall was delighted with England centre Joel Tomkins’ first full appearance since missing the start of the RBS 6 Nations through a knee injury as his side beat Exeter 23-10 in the Aviva Premiership.

Tomkins, who was out for three months after damaging his knee in England’s 30-22 Twickenham defeat by New Zealand in November, paired up with fellow England centre Brad Barritt, who also missed the opening three Six Nations matches following foot surgery.

“It’s great to see Joel back,” said director of rugby McCall.

“In the first 20 minutes we were lethargic. We were a second off in everything we did but then Joel made a couple of important breaks and got us on the front foot.”

Barritt, who will rejoin Stuart Lancaster’s England squad on Monday, played for 78 minutes before being replaced.

Two powerfully-driven tries from front-row forwards James Johnston and Schalk Brits enabled Saracens to overcome a stiff challenge from the Chiefs.

Both were converted by former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson, who also kicked three second-half penalties

The hard-fought victory keeps Saracens in second place, a point behind Northampton, ahead of Friday night’s visit to in-form Bath.

McCall said: “Bath are on a roll at the moment and have been playing some good rugby.

“Their set-piece is very strong and it’s going to be a big battle.

“It was a mountain for us to come back from 7-0 down when they had a strong wind in the second half but we dominated the set-piece today.”

The Saracens boss added that former England lock Mouritz Botha, carried off during the second half after suffering a worrying-looking neck injury in a tackle, had been taken to hospital “as a precaution but I think he’s OK”.

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 09:30
Kurt Zouma (left) is likely to partner John Terry in the centre of Chelsea's defence as Blues boss Jose Mourinho seeks to stop Harry Kane

Harry Kane will have been giving Jose Mourinho nightmares this week as he ponders ways of neutralising the best young striker in England.

Danny Rose (left) battles with Eden Hazard during Tottenham's 5-3 victory over Chelsea at White Hart Lane on New Year's Day

Danny Rose admits Eden Hazard is one of his toughest opponents and the Tottenham left-back is aware he’ll have to put in a flawless defensive display to stop the Belgian winger if he gets the nod at Wembley.

Fri, 07:22
Roberto Soldado in action for Spurs against Fiorentina (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

Roberto Soldado’s embarrassing mistake was the “key” moment in Tottenham’s Europa League exit, but Mauricio Pochettino had no regrets about playing the misfiring striker ahead of Harry Kane.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

The latest North London property news and features straight into your inbox.

Other Emails:
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

The political editor will be taking time off for treatment.

It involves a picture of a hand. You can guess what shape it is making.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder