Mark McCall hails ‘special’ Aviva Premiership victory for Saracens
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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has hailed his side’s ability to thrive under pressure after they beat Exeter Chiefs 27-10 in the Aviva Premiership final.
They conceded the first points at a baking-hot Twickenham but from the minute they took the lead after 15 minutes there was only going to be one winner.
A brief fightback on the hour, at a time when Sarries were a man short, was the only blip on a seamless ride to the title.
And the Ulsterman said that was down to the coollness of his players.
He said: “They bossed the first 13 minutes of the game but we weren’t spooked by that.
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“We came back and scored two good tries on our first two attacks although we didn’t capitalise on some of our possession at the end of the first half.
“But when it became a 19-10 game and we’ve got a man in the sin-bin, the team were calm and composed and played really smart during that period.
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“Our subs made a huge difference when they came on and it was just a massive effort from everyone.”
The blazing sun and scorching temperatures was a far cry from the cold days of winter when Saracens went on a five-game losing streak.
And that, for McCall, was just one of the two reasons that this victory was “special”.
He said: “Where we were in December when we lost five games in a row, to then be here today and to play the way we did feels really good.
“When you go through something like that you can start to see ghosts and start to see things that are wrong that actually aren’t.
“But as a group we were calm and composed fought our way through that period.
“But I’m mostly pleased because of the quality of our performance today.
“It feels like its our best final performance because of the quality of the opposition we played.
“But we were so alive and I thought it was a top-class performance.”