McCall rues lack of bonus point


Published: Sunday 14th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall admitted his side may come to regret not claiming a bonus point in their European Champions Cup victory over Sale Sharks.

But, while a stubborn Sharks side refused to roll over at Allianz Park, McCall believes his side are well placed heading into the last two rounds of Pool games.

Alex Goode crossed in the first half for the hosts but Nathan Hines, in his first game back from injury, responded for Sale before the interval.

Owen Farrell notched 13 points in all with the boot but – despite second-half scores from Ben Ransom and Billy Vunipola – the Sharks held out to deny Sarries a fourth try and even claimed a late score of their own through Eifion Lewis-Roberts.

Victory moves the hosts top of Pool 1 with Munster and Clermont facing off in France on Sunday and, with the Irish province still to come to Allianz Park, McCall’s side have it in their hands to advance to the knockout stages.

“We might live to regret not getting the bonus point, but what you want is to be in control going into rounds five and six,” he said.

“We’ve Munster coming here and it’s going to be a titanic match.

“But to have 13 points at this stage is okay and if we win both games you win the group and at least it’s in our hands.

“I thought it was a patchy performance. In the first half we got into good scoring positions often enough but made some individual errors. We had a couple of five-metre line-outs and those were golden opportunities missed.”

For Sale their European hopes are at an end and, after running Sarries extremely close last weekend, Steve Diamond admitted his side were deserved losers this time around.

“Last week we were unlucky not to win the game but this week we were beaten fair and square by the better team on the night,” he said.

“The difference between the squad sizes and quality was shown when the benches changed and that was the turning point. They’ve got one or two outstanding carriers who played really well so we’ve got no complaints.

“We rolled our sleeves up, a lot of sides would have thrown the towel in and – while I’m disappointed with the result – ultimately we were beaten by the better team.

“Over the last five to six weeks we’ve shown we can compete with the best and we’re a difficult side to beat at home and we picked two away wins up in the Aviva Premiership.

“We’re in a good place at the minute, we can’t be complacent and take each team as they come and it starts with Exeter next Friday. We want to finish in the top six and hopefully we can continue.”

Published: Sunday 14th December 2014 by The News Editor

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