McCall aware Saracens were unconvincing in victory over Falcons, but happy with win
PUBLISHED: 14:00 08 April 2019
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Mark McCall accepts it was an unconvincing performance from Saracens in their 26-12 success at home to relegation-threatened Newcastle Falcons in the Gallagher Premiership.
Sean Maitland, Max Malins, Alex Lozowski and Nick Tompkins scored tries for the north Londoners, with Owen Farrell adding three conversions.
Tane Takulua kicked four penalties for Falcons, but it was not enough to secure a bonus point as they failed to take advantage of their first-half dominance.
Director of rugby McCall acknowledges Sarries will have to improve as the business end of the campaign approaches, but revealed their were mitigating circumstances for the display.
“We made nine changes from last week’s win (against Glasgow Warriors in the Heineken Champions Cup) and the players have been on a mini-break to Austria so we’ve had a restricted training week,” he said.
“In the first half, we made a lot of mistakes and our execution was poor.
“Our handling errors were huge, but fortunately our defence was very good.
“Owen said a lot of things at half-time, so we understood what needed to improve in the second half.
“We still continued to make errors but we, but it was a bit more like it so I’m glad we found a way to win.”
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards, meanwhile, was left to rue his team’s inability to make the most of their chances.
“We had three clear-cut try-scoring chances in 60 minutes and took none, they had three and took all of them,” he said.
“Our scrum was dominant for 50 minutes and our line-out functioned really well.
When Takulua kicked his fourth penalty, three minutes from time, Newcastle looked to have earned a deserved bonus point, but a disputed last-minute try from Lozowski took that away.
Prior to Lozowski’s finish, Saracens wing Alex Lewington appeared to have put a foot in touch, but after lengthy discussions with the TMO, the try stood.
Falcons chief Richards added: “I don’t know if whether it was a try or not, but I have to question why we were given such an inexperienced set of officials as we are not getting the bounce of the ball, which we need in our present position.”