Saracens show strength in depth to tame Tigers, leave McCall targetting title treble
PUBLISHED: 13:00 18 February 2019
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Mark McCall thinks his Saracens squad is deep enough to compete for a famous treble after seeing a youthful side ease past Leicester 33-10 on Saturday.
The defending Premiership champions are without many of their top stars due to the Six Nations but still had enough in the tank to see off the Tigers and move back to the top of the table.
Richard Wigglesworth, Tom Woolstencroft, Ben Spencer and David Strettle all crossed for tries at Allianz Park, where the hosts rebounded strongly after trailing at half-time.
And McCall was enthused by his young charges, who continue to stake their claim for a place in the team ahead of the Premiership run-in and Heineken Cup knock-out stages – which sees Saracens host Glasgow Warriors in the last eight.
“With the way the boys have played in these past four weeks, helping us put points on the board, we’ve now got a bit of flexibility in terms of managing the squad so that we’re fresh come April and May,” said McCall whose his side plays in the Premiership Rugby Cup final next month.
“We didn’t target or particularly have a focus on the bonus point. Our intention in this period is to help some of the younger boys along in terms of exposure, and they’ve shown what they can do.
“We wanted to build on the momentum we’ve managed to build since the defeat at Sale, and the boys have shown what they’re all about. Guys like Matt Gallagher, who I’m absolutely delighted for, is a great example of what we want to do with our guys in terms of development.
“These periods are crucial for us. We don’t really care what the league table looks like at this stage; there’s still a long way to go, and our aim in these weeks is to give lads a platform to play.
“The youngsters have shown plenty in the recent European Cup games and in the Prem Cup, so from that perspective, it’s a lot of boxes ticked.”
Leicester are now ninth in the table and looking nervously over their shoulder after an eighth defeat from 13 league games.
Wales winger Johan Holmes scored their only try and director of rugby Geordan Murphy admits they were outclassed in the second half.
“We blinked and Saracens just chipped away. The scoreline is reflective of the performance. We brought on some of the young guys to try and inject a little bit of energy into it, but it just didn’t happen and we’ll have a look at that,” he said.
“It was competitive while we stayed in the territory battle, but when we fell behind on the scoreboard, it was tough and they managed to get on top of us.
“At 18-10 I felt if we could nick something we might have seen a grandstand finish, but it just went the other way and we looked out on our feet. Our coverage in the back-field wasn’t great and Saracens will punish you if you’re not up to it.”