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McCall feels basic errors by Saracens cost them dear in defeat away to Sale Sharks

PUBLISHED: 13:56 05 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:56 05 January 2019

Saracens' Billy Vunipola on his way to scoring the opening try at Sale Sharks (pic: Richard Sellers/PA)

Saracens' Billy Vunipola on his way to scoring the opening try at Sale Sharks (pic: Richard Sellers/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Sarries beaten by Sharks despite try from returning Billy Vunipola

Mark McCall was disappointed with the errors from Saracens as they succumbed to just a second loss of the Gallagher Premiership season at Sale Sharks.

The north Londoners were beaten 24-18 on Friday night, despite tries from the returning Billy Vunipola and Nick Tompkins, as well eight points from Owen Farrell.

The Allianz Park outfit were at least able to claim a losing bonus point, but director of rugby McCall was far from happy with what he saw.

“A lot of our fundamentals were really poor,” McCall admitted. “In the first half we lost four restart receptions and were a bit sloppy defensively, and in the second half it was all about set-piece.

“We lost four lineouts in their 22, gave away a number of scrum penalties, got ourselves behind and didn’t react well to some of the setbacks we faced. We then played horrible catch-up rugby towards the end.

“We were playing against a good team who were really good and very physical around the breakdown area, but it was the fundamentals which let us down.”

As for Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond, he feels his team are now in their best position for years, both on and off the pitch after beating Saracens.

“We’ve got lads like the Currys and the (Josh) Beaumonts of the world, as well as Sam and Luke James and Arron Reed, and then you’ve got imports such as Jono (Ross), Faf (De Klerk) and James O’Connor, who are brilliant,” he said.

“All of them want to stay, all of them have a good time and all of them want to win something for Sale. We’ve put a stamp on it and I carry the flag for the business, and these lads are 100 per cent behind what we’re doing.

“The vision is there. With the strides we’re making, we’ve got to be a regular top European competitor and then push for the top-four.

“It’s taken sides a long time to do it, such as Saracens and Exeter, so it doesn’t happen overnight. We know where we’re going with it and with a bit of luck, good recruitment and attitude, it counts for a lot. We’re nearly there with that.

“We’ve been playing well. After the first six games, we got (Chris) Ashton and Faf back, while Rob Du Preez came in, and we’ve got some resemblance of organisation, away from home and at home, and that’s been shown.”

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