McCall hails Goode as Saracens complete European and Premiership double
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Saracens boss Mark McCall believes Alex Goode underlined his status as the Premiership’s best full-back as his crucial try helped the Hendon-based club to complete an historic European and domestic double.
Having taken a 23-3 lead in Saturday’s Premiership final against Exeter at Twickenham, Sarries’ advantage was cut to 23-30 with eight minutes to go – but Goode capped a man-of-the-match display by crossing the line to wrap up the victory.
Saracens have consequently become the first English team in 12 years to win both the European Cup and the domestic league title, and they are also the first team in six years to successfully defend the Premiership crown, having won the trophy last season too.
Director of rugby Mark McCall said: “Alex has played like that all season and for me he’s the best full-back in England by miles.
“You get concerned when it becomes a three-point game. We just couldn’t get our hands on the ball in the second half.
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“Give Exeter huge credit because all season they’ve become an 80-minute team and they’re a resilient bunch who took it to us in the second half.
“We showed the necessary composure and resilience in the last 15 minutes. We had a couple of chances to win the game and our last try to win it was a great score.”
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Saracens’ success has made up for the agony of the climax to the 2014 season, when they were also fighting for the double but lost both finals, against Toulon and Northampton.
“We all remember what it felt like two years ago when we lost two finals in a row – the second of them here [at Twickenham] in the last second of extra time,” McCall said.
“It was painful and as hard as it gets. Then to have the two seasons we’ve had since then...
“You can only play 33 games in a season and we’ve lost four [this season]. That’s not a bad record and it indicates that we don’t pick and choose our games, but front up all the time.
“If we keep that up I don’t see why we won’t be back in these sorts of games. The age profile of the squad is good.
“Everybody is signed up for the next two to three seasons. The spine of the team is there, but the Premiership is always getting better. We’ve got to stay hungry and motivated and no doubt we will.”