Search

Saracens ‘died a slow death’ in Toulouse, says Mark McCall who eyes crunch Connacht tie

06:55 13 January 2014

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

2013 Getty Images

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was frustrated by his team’s latest performance in the Heineken Cup.

The Aviva Premiership side saw their hopes of topping Pool Three all but ended in south-west France as they were beaten 21-11 by four-time competition winners Toulouse at the Stade Ernest-Wallon.

Mark McCall told his club’s official website: “Obviously we are very disappointed - we don’t think that we gave the best account of Saracens today. We just couldn’t get any momentum in our play.

“In the first half we gave them their points cheaply. They didn’t have to work hard to get theirs and we had to work unbelievably hard to get ours - and then we died a slow death in the second half as they got their noses in front.”

England wing Chris Ashton, who scored the only try of the game, said the 13 penalties given away was uncharacteristic of the visitors.

He explained: “It was always going to be hard coming down here. Their defence was superb, they were great at the breakdown and we struggled to get into the game.

“We got some early go-forward and perhaps we didn’t take enough advantage of that in the first half.

“We kept giving them penalties and that made it easier for them to win the game.

“Something we pride ourselves on is our work at the breakdown, but we knew they were a big physical team and they wanted to make that area a mess, get close to the ball and pick and go.

“It was something we knew was going to happen - but I don’t think we dealt with it as well as we would have liked to.

“We don’t usually give away that many penalties. It is part of our values and discipline, but they had a great kicker and he kept banging them over. To keep them to no tries is the only bonus for us.”

He added: “Playing in Europe is a step up and we have to get better at putting ourselves in the right frame of mind. You have to be better in all areas.”

McCall added: “Your set-piece has to be good to gain momentum and although our scrum was good our line-out didn’t function.

“But it has happened and we have six days to turn things around for Connacht, which is a huge game.

“If we can win that game we get the chance to go somewhere else in the quarter-finals and prove we are better than we were today.

“We have a physically battered changing room and we have to play Connacht in six days time.

“There is something at stake for them - whoever wins that game could qualify and so it is a huge game.”

Related articles

0 comments

Latest Sport Stories

Yesterday, 11:55
Monaco defender Ricardo Carvalho(left) challenges Olivier Giroud during the 2014 Emirates Cup

Arsenal return to action on English soil for the first time since their FA Cup triumph when they host the annual Emirates Cup later this month.

Thu, 20:54
Middlesex's James Franklin

Hapless Middlesex remain rooted to the foot of the table after a seven-wicket thrashing by Sussex Sharks – their sixth straight NatWest T20 Blast defeat.

Thu, 15:11
James Ward in action against Jiri Vesely at Wimbledon

Camden’s James Ward has reached the third round of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time after overcoming the world No45 Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic in four sets at Wimbledon today.

Thu, 12:18
Middlesex's Ravi Patel (right) celebrates a wicket with one-day captain Eoin Morgan

Spinner Ravi Patel is eager to make up for lost time after returning from injury – and halt Middlesex’s horrific nose-dive in the NatWest T20 Blast.

Most read sport

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our monthly newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder