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McCall relieved to see Saracens end losing run

PUBLISHED: 18:36 24 December 2017 | UPDATED: 18:36 24 December 2017

Saracens' Alex Goode (left) is tackled by Leicester Tigers Mike Williams (pic Nigel French/PA)

Saracens' Alex Goode (left) is tackled by Leicester Tigers Mike Williams (pic Nigel French/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was relieved to see his side break their losing run with a deserved 29-17 win over Leicester at Welford Road on Christmas Eve.

The EEuropean champions had lost their previous seven fixtures but they were more accurate than their opponents as Tigers made a whole host of handling errors and were ill-disciplined, culminating in a red card for England wing Jonny May for two deliberate knock-ons.

Each side were awarded a penalty try, with Mathew Tait scoring Leicester’s other effort and George Ford converting and kicking a penalty.

Jamie George crossed for Saracens, with Owen Farrell kicking five penalties and a conversion.

McCall said: “It was a confident display from us as we were good with or without the ball and our penalty count was very low. We did leave a couple of tries out there but we were in control and I didn’t think the red card affected the result in any way.

“Jackson Wray has been one of our most consistent performers and he was outstanding but we were good across the board with Ben Spencer impressing and Marcelo Bosch handling (Manu) Tuilagi very well.

“Obviously I’m glad we’re back to winning ways but I thought we were never far away from victory. Apart from the Clermont game we were ahead in nearly all the games including tough fixtures against the likes of Exeter and Gloucester.”

Leicester’s director of rugby Matt O’Connor accepted his side were second best on the day and May’s dismissal made no difference to the result.

“You can’t give a side as good as Saracens a 17-point start and we were always chasing the game after that,” he said.

“They deserved to win as we were too inaccurate and ill-disciplined at key moments. Although we dominated the set scrums we were well behind on the penalty count.

“They were clinical and took their chances and made us work hard for everything. Jonny May’s card wasn’t why we lost but it’s harsh and I would like the law makers to have a look at it.”

It was Leicester’s fifth straight defeat and they face a difficult task away to leaders Exeter next Sunday. O’Connor added: “It’s a huge challenge against and hopefully we can show how resilient we are.”

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