Saracens boss content with a draw after 10-try thriller
20:35 01 March 2016
Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall declared himself satisfied with Saturday’s thrilling draw against Sale Sharks – although his side’s lead at the top of the Premiership has been cut to three points.
Sale are unbeaten at home in the last 10 months and they went 17-0 up in Manchester, scoring three tries – but Jim Hamilton crossed the line for Sarries and Chris Wyles’ brace put the visitors 22-17 up at the break.
Danny Cipriani kicked three penalties to edge the Sharks ahead again, only for Nick Tompkins and Mike Ellery to touch down and put Saracens 36-26 ahead.
But TJ Ioane and Tom Arscott scored the ninth and 10th tries of the match to level the scores at 36-36 – and Cipriani missed a late conversion to win the clash for the hosts.
Second-placed Exeter increased the pressure on the leaders by beating Bath on Sunday, but McCall reflected: “Overall, we’ve got to be satisfied to get three points at a place where a lot of teams have struggled this year.
“Especially after we were 17-0 down, I thought we showed some good resilience and character to come back into it.
“I guess the only disappointing thing was that when we got to 36-26 up, which seemed remarkable given the start we had, it was a little bit disappointing to let them back in – but they probably deserved it on the balance of play.
“We needed to tighten up our defence. I thought we defended poorly in that first 20 minutes but we defended well in the second half.
“Even though they scored a couple of tries in the last 10 minutes, they had to work hard for those tries whereas they didn’t for the other three.”
Meanwhile, seven Saracens players have been included in England’s 33-man training squad ahead of Saturday’s Six Nations showdown with Wales at Twickenham.