McCall: Itoje has been one shining light so far
PUBLISHED: 16:00 28 September 2018
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Sarries lock scored two tries in victory over Gloucester last weekend
Mark McCall is looking for Saracens lock Maro Itoje to continue his fine start to the Gallagher Premiership season when Bath visit Allianz Park on Saturday.
Itoje scored two tries for the north Londoners last weekend as they beat Gloucester 38-15 at home to maintain their perfect record.
The 23-year-old impressed with a high-energy display against Gloucester, leading director of rugby McCall to single to England international out for special praise.
“Maro has been the one shining light all the way through the season so far,” said McCall following the win over the Cherry & Whites.
“He’s a guy in a hurry to be better and every day in training you see it. He sets an incredible example and has been good all season. Against Gloucester, he was great again.
“It doesn’t matter if he’s playing at lock or flanker. He could have ended up playing at lock when Nick Isiekwe came on against Gloucester, but it doesn’t really matter where he plays.”
Against Gloucester last week, Saracens turned in their best display of the season so far and were in complete control throughout at Allianz Park.
But McCall feels the final score did not tell the whole story, believing his north Londoners had to work hard for their victory.
“We think Gloucester are a good team and knew it was going to be tough against them, so we had to work hard,” he added.
“Being 24-3 up at half-time may have made it seem like it was easy, but it wasn’t easy at all.
“We scored a good early try, then had to work really hard for the rest of our points.
“We got a bit of lucky with Owen’s kick for the third try which could have gone anywhere, but we scored a try just on half-time.
“We had to work pretty hard for our points in the first half. Gloucester are defensively a very strong team and we couldn’t get the speed of ball that we wanted at times.
“We were disappointed with ourselves in the first three weeks of the season and felt there was more in us.
“We’d been pushing since the Newcastle Falcons game to improve and we’d talked about that a lot.
“I said last week at Northampton Saints was a good step in the right direction, especially physically, and the Gloucester game was another step in the right direction.”
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