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Saracens youngsters proving major positives for McCall in difficult relegation season

PUBLISHED: 11:51 08 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:51 08 March 2020

Saracens Manu Vunipola converts a conversion during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.

Saracens Manu Vunipola converts a conversion during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.

PA Wire/PA Images

Mark McCall believes the youth set-up at Saracens can be the major positive from their relegation after his young side saw off Leicester 24-13 at Allianz Park.

Saracens Rotimi Segun is tackled during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.Saracens Rotimi Segun is tackled during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.

While experienced campaigner Alex Lewington scored two tries in the win over his former team, McCall singled out the displays of back-rower Sean Reffell and try-scoring centre Dom Morris as the positives to take from the encounter.

And while Saracens will be relegated at the end of the campaign for salary cap breaches, McCall insists the way the young players have performed in the Premiership is the main positive to take from the season.

He said: "We've won nine out of our 13 games this season, we'd be second in the table.

"Given that we haven't picked many of our international players for many of our league games and everything that's going on behind the scenes, I can't speak more highly of our playing group, the positives for us this year is just how many younger players have got exposure and have relished their chances and opportunities.

Saracens Matt Gallagher in action during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.Saracens Matt Gallagher in action during the Gallagher Premiership match at Allianz Park, London.

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"Sean Reffell had an outstanding game at seven, he's a very young man and to play against a pack the size of Leicester's and make the contribution he did was great, Dom Morris had a great game at 13.

"We had a nice balance in the team between some experienced players who fronted up and some younger players who are on the start of their journeys and overall it was a good game for us."

Lewington's first try put Saracens 7-6 up at the break before Ben White responded to give Tigers the lead.

However Leicester had Telusa Veainu sin-binned soon after and crumbled from that point as Morris and then Lewington went over, much to the frustration of head coach Geordan MurphyHe said: "At 7-6 at half time I thought we were still in the game, the endeavour was there and the guys were working very hard for each other. I thought we could have had another couple of penalties to keep that scoreboard ticking. At 60 minutes when we scored a great try, six points up 20 minutes to go, I thought we were really in control.

"A couple of big moments go against you, the Veainu yellow card really hurt. Did he mean to knock it on, or was he trying to intercept?

"It's a really tough one and I'll need to look at it more closely but it is what it is, you get a yellow card and Saracens just stretched us in that period and tested our fitness.

"Certainly there were things we got wrong in the game, but ultimately it was not good enough."


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