McCall has no excuses as Saracens sink at Bath
PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 March 2019
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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall offered no excuses for his side’s fourth successive defeat on the road in the Gallagher Premiership.
Six penalties from the boot of Bath fly-half Rhys Priestland sent Saracens to an 18-9 defeat at The Rec, while hauling the home side back into the top six after narrow defeats to Northampton and Harlequins.
“In the first half we were really poor,” said McCall.
“We lost all the collisions, gave away a lot of penalties. I thought we were much better in that regard in the second half.
“We put Bath under more pressure and got down their end more often to give ourselves a chance to get something out of the game, but our set-piece let us down.”
McCall refused to blame centre Alex Lozowski’s missed kicks for the defeat, adding: “Alex has kicked well for us for many matches. We had chances with 10 minutes to go to level things while they had a man in the sin-bin.
“It was a golden opportunity for us, which we blew. We lost our losing bonus point too, which was hugely frustrating.”
Bath rival Todd Blackadder added: “We just focused on what we needed to do to win. These games are as much of a character test as anything and you’ve got to come out fighting and I thought the boys executed the game plan brilliantly.
“It was an arm-wrestle. We got the better of it, I think. I thought our set-piece was outstanding. Our line-out was good, as was our decision-making. It was always going to be a couple of penalties each way.”
Blackadder was far from happy with replacement hooker Ross Batty getting himself sin-binned with 10 minutes to go.
Batty was also sent off at Worcester in January, where Bath lost after leading 19-6.
“I am relieved about the result. To win the game was great, but I am absolutely furious about that yellow card and the situation it put us in,” said Blackadder.
“To get a yellow card and have to take Zach Mercer off and go down to 14 men was just stupidity.
“That could easily have been a Saracens win. It’s the sort of thing we have to eradicate from our game.”