Saracens chief McCall not reading much into five-try mauling of title rivals Exeter
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Top two in table met at the weekend, but both fielded weakened squads
Mark McCall insists Saracens’ 38-7 victory at home to Exeter Chiefs in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday will have little bearing on a potential final between the sides.
A bonus-point victory has given the defending English champions hope of finishing the regular season top of the table with one round left to play, a position the Chiefs have held for the majority of the campaign.
Already assured of home semi-finals, both teams field weakened sides for what was likely to be a dress rehearsal for the Premiership showpiece on June 1.
Alex Lewington and Dom Morris both crossed twice for the north Londoners, while Nick Tompkins also dotted down.
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But director of rugby McCall refused to view Saracens’ victory as a signpost of what might happen if the rivals qualify for the final.
“We wanted some momentum as a club and there’s a good buzz around the place at the moment,” McCall said.
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“They rested their best team and we rested our XV for next week (Saracens play Leinster in the Heineken Champions Cup final), so this game was unimportant if we play again.”
Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter, meanwhile, says his team will be all the stronger for their five-try drubbing.
“If you get to the stage where results mean nothing, you’re in the wrong business. But bigger picture, I wouldn’t change the team I selected,” Baxter said.
“We took some important things out of this. It has given us a view on some players and we’ve rested and hopefully cleared up a few niggles. I’d have liked us to have performed better.
“There’s always the psychological damage of a result like this, but there’s also the reality of knowing that we have to be good and that tends to bring out the best out in us.
“We don’t have to be the best Exeter Chiefs at the moment. We finished top last season and it didn’t win us anything. Two years ago we finished second and we won the Premiership.”
“We don’t know if we’ll play Saracens again, so we don’t know if them playing in the final will give us any advantage.
“Actually, disrupted game time at the end of the season is one of the things that has hurt us most.
“I would have no issue to keep playing through and I actually believe that Saracens are thriving on it.”