Rugby Union: Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall simply happy to get win over Harlequins
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Sarries record an 24-11 victory over London rivals in Aviva Premiership at London Stadium
Saracens director of rugby was Mark McCall was content with his team’s display in their 24-11 Aviva Premiership victory over London rivals Harlequins.
The north Londoners took their home derby with Quins on the road to the London Stadium, bringing top-flight professional club rugby to east London for the first time.
Sarries took control of the match in the first half through tries from first Liam Williams and then Maro Itoje, both of whom returned to the fold after spending the past few weeks with their respective national teams in the Six Nations.
In the second half, the hosts could only muster two Alex Lozowski penalties, which contributed to a total haul of 14 points from the fly half.
The win saw Saracens return to winning ways in the league after recent defeats to Exeter Chiefs and Leicester Tigers.
And McCall was simply happy his side were able to record what could prove to be an important win come the end of the term.
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“We were good with the ball and good without the ball. For the team, it was important to win,” said the 50-year-old
“Our first focus was the win and in the context of the Aviva Premiership, we want a strong finish with four games to go.
“As a game, it was pretty good in the first half, but after 60 minutes, it was stop-start which was frustrating.”
Itoje was in fine form on his return for Saracens, taking man-of-the-match honours at the London Stadium.
While on international duty, the forward had been subject to criticism for his displays with England.
However, the 23-year-old responded to his critics with an inspired display against Quins, capped by his first-half try.
McCall, though, admitted he was shocked questions had even been asked about Itoje in the first place, adding: “I wasn’t surprised by Maro’s energy, but everyone else in the room seems to be.
“Maro was brilliant against Harlequins, he was full of energy and full of life. He deserved to be man of the match, which will give him a lot of confidence. His performance wasn’t a surprise to us.”