Saracens’ heavy defeat to Wasps will mean little in European semi-final, says McCall
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Saracens boss Mark McCall says February’s heavy home defeat to Wasps will mean very little when the sides meet again in Saturday’s European semi-final.
Sarries were thumped 64-23 at Allianz Park in the league clash earlier this year, conceding eight tries and the most points on home turf in their history.
However, the Hendon outfit were missing a host of their international stars that day due to the Six Nations, and McCall is expecting a very different game when the two Premiership sides fight for a place in the European Cup final at Reading’s Madjeski Stadium this weekend.
“We haven’t actually talked about it at all this week,” said the director of rugby. “It’s not a game we’ve reflected on too much because there are very few people who will start this game who started that game.
“It wasn’t a good day, it was a terrible day. They played exceptionally well and we didn’t cope with it. But six weeks before that we’d beaten them at their place with our full team against their full team, so it was the exception rather than the rule.
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“We’ve played 27 games all season, only lost four of them and three of those were during the Six Nations.”
There are three English sides in the final four of the Champions Cup, with Leicester facing French outfit Racing 92 in the other semi-final on Sunday.
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McCall said: “It’s a good sign because the questions being asked more recently were ‘why can’t English teams get into the quarter-finals and semi-finals?’. “It is very encouraging, the way Wasps played in a really tough group, for example. You saw the English clubs in a good light.
“This season feels like it has been the best Premiership. All the way down the league there are good teams - right down to ninth and 10th position. It feels like everybody has got better.
“We feel like we’ve done it the right way – organically. If you look all the way through our starting XV it’s packed full of people who have come through our academy.
“They’ve shared one hell of a lot of experiences together - a lot of good ones and the odd unbelievably disappointing one, but that has made them tighter and stronger. Hopefully we’ll see evidence of that on Saturday.”