One match at a time for Saracens’ McCall
PUBLISHED: 09:22 30 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:54 30 November 2019
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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall is refusing to look too far ahead after his side won 25-12 at Bath to take their points tally in the Gallagher Premiership to minus 18.
The reigning champions were near full strength for the first time since accepting their 35-point deduction and £5.4million fine for breaching salary cap rules.
England captain Owen Farrell kicked 20 points on his return to club duty, while Scotland wing Sean Maitland scored the only try at the Rec.
Asked if he had worked out how many games his team would need to win to avoid relegation, McCall said: "A more positive way of looking at it is that we have now played two games in the Premiership post the salary cap decision.
"One of those was Gloucester away when we had none of our international players available and now Bath away.
"To have won them both is a good start for us in the campaign to stay up."
Club chairman Nigel Wray was not there to see Saracens absorb early pressure and then pull away for a convincing victory.
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McCall added: "It's a real shame that he doesn't feel comfortable to come to the away matches. For somebody who has actually given rugby a lot, I believe, and given the north London community so much good, for him not to feel he cannot watch his club is really sad.
"Hopefully he starts to feel differently soon, but it's his decision for now."
McCall was more than satisfied with the performance in front of a full house, adding: "It was a tough game in tough conditions, quite slippy. Bath had the better of it for the first 20 minutes. We had to absorb quite a lot of pressure, which we did. I just felt we grew into the game, got better and took more control as the game went on.
"The build-up to the try was outstanding and we kept (Sam) Underhill and (Francois) Louw away from the ball, which was an achievement.
"To come here and win - and win with a bit of control - was very good."
Rhys Priestland kicked all the points for Bath, whose director of rugby Stuart Hooper said: "What I saw was 23 guys in Bath jerseys who were putting as much effort in as they could, which is what we expect. But that's not enough at this level.
"We probably didn't take as many opportunities as we should have done to score points early on - and then gave a few easy ones away for Owen Farrell to knock over. We are ruing some missed opportunities.
"It's a pretty unique challenge, playing against a side with the quality they have across the board.
"For us now, it's about putting the performances together and getting the wins. Regardless of where Saracens are, we need to develop our game to add to the effort we are putting in."