McCall: Saracens still have room for improvement after ninth successive victory

Saracens' director of rugby Mark McCall. Pic: PA

Saracens' director of rugby Mark McCall. Pic: PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall has warned the rest of Europe that his in-form side still have room for improvement as they head into their fourth Champions Cup group clash at home against French side Oyonnax.

Sarries have won all of their nine games in all competitions so far this season, including their six-try demolition of Oyonnax in Sunday’s 45-10 win away at the Stade Charles-Mathon in the shadow of the French Alps.

Nonetheless McCall – who has admitted that his defence and forwards coach Paul Gustard had been approached by England for a similar role under new head coach Eddie Jones – believes his side can improve facets of their game.

“I think the performance was a mixed one in truth,” he said. “When we were good, we were very good. We had a 25-minute period in the beginning of the match where we didn’t really leave our own half because of our ill-discipline, but when we got into their half we were very clinical and scored a couple of nice tries.

“In the second half that continued when we scored a couple of smashing tries to get the bonus point, but thereafter the game drifted a little bit – that can happen when you’re 38-3 up.”


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Saracens now welcome Oyonnax to Allianz Park in Hendon for Saturday’s return fixture against the pool’s basement boys, who have lost both of their European matches so far.

“This week we’ve had a chance to fine-tune some aspects of our game,” said McCall.

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“We have reviewed some of the things we have done well over in Oyonnax and we’ve looked to work on improving some aspects of our play that maybe weren’t up to standard. We’re looking forward to another big challenge this Saturday.”

Full-back Alex Goode, who scored one of Saracens’ tries in France, feels their strength in depth will serve them well in a competition that is high on their agenda again.

“We have had a young team over the last few years and we have grown together and added layers to our game,” he said. “We have been close in this tournament before. We have our foundations, we are in a good place, but we know there is a long journey ahead.”

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