Rugby: McCall praise for Saracens flanker Earl

Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall

Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was full of praise for Ben Earl after his flanker scored two tries in their 24-10 win at Leicester on Sunday.

Saracens' Ben Earl scores a try during the Gallagher Premiership match at Welford Road, Leicester.

Saracens' Ben Earl scores a try during the Gallagher Premiership match at Welford Road, Leicester. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Nick Tompkins scored their other try, with Alex Lozowski contributing seven points from the tee and Manu Vunipola also converting.

McCall said: "Ben was exceptional. We know he can have moments of wonder and very few players are capable of scoring that first try in the way he did, but I was particularly pleased with his defensive effort."

After last week's surprise home loss to Northampton, the holders regrouped to run out deserved winners, scoring three tries to Leicester's one for four points.

McCall said: "I thought we showed great control as much of the match was played at their end of the pitch apart from the opening minutes.

"We responded well to their interception try. Last week our inexperienced team failed to close out the match, but we learnt from that.

"The half-backs (Vunipola and Richard Wigglesworth) showed good game management. We could have switched Alex Lozowski to fly-half but we wanted to give Manu a chance in that position as it's vital to expose young players if the opportunity arises.

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"We displayed some good attacking quality in the first half but didn't really capitalise on it."

Adam Thompstone scored Leicester's try, with Noel Reid kicking a penalty and conversion.

However, Tigers were on the back foot for large parts of the match and head coach Geordan Murphy accepted Saracens were the better side.

He said: "They deserved to win but I'm disappointed we didn't get a bonus point as we stuck at it.

"But we still haven't had a full 80-minute performance this season. However, it was more pleasing than last week at Worcester when we were paralysed at the fear of playing in the Premiership.

"This week we had a good start and played a bit more, but once again we made life challenging for ourselves with missed touches and tackles.

"Injuries to Kyle (Eastmond) with a calf problem and Will's (Spencer) shoulder knock were unfortunate as we had to roll our bench early in the game."

After two consecutive defeats, Tigers badly need a victory to kick-start their season, but next up is a home game against unbeaten Gloucester.

Murphy said: "It doesn't get any easier as Gloucester were hugely impressive in wet weather conditions yesterday. They have a strong pack and are nigh on full strength, so it will be a very big task for us."