Mark McCall calls 2018 Premiership victory over Exeter Chiefs Saracens' best final ever
By Michael Cantillon at Twickenham
Last Updated: 26/05/18 8:16pm
Saracens head coach Mark McCall says his side's Premiership victory over Exeter Chiefs on Saturday was their best final performance ever.
McCall, who has overseen previous European Cup final victories over Racing 92 in 2016 and Clermont Auvergne in 2017, plus Premiership final successes against Bath in 2015 and Exeter in 2016, said the effort his players put in and the calibre of their opposition marked it out as special.
Two Chris Wyles tries, plus Billy Vunipola and Nathan Earle efforts saw Sarries defeat Exeter 27-10 in a physical display at Twickenham, and McCall could not hide his delight after a campaign which proved difficult at times.
"It feels special for a couple of reasons," McCall said at the post-match press conference. "Where we were in December having lost five games in a row, to be here today and play the way we did, that feels really good.
"It was an absolutely brilliant performance. The effort the players put in was extraordinary. We were very good with the ball and we kept them away from our 22 for the most part. I think that's our best performance in a final because of the effort the players put in.
"When you lose five games in a row, as an organisation you start to see ghosts and things that are wrong when they're not wrong. We were calm and composed but fought our way through that period.
"I'm also pleased because of the quality of our performance. It feels like our best final performance because of the quality of the opposition we played. It was brilliant that we were so alive."
The victory was also the final appearances in Saracens colours of wing Wyles and hooker Schalk Brits, and skipper Brad Barritt paid tribute to their decade and nine-year stints respectively at the club afterwards.
"We all know as players what Chris [Wyles] and Schalk [Brits] have given to Saracens and the many happy memories but we can't speak enough about what a galvanising force they've been for the culture at Saracens," Brits said while sitting next to McCall.
"I just want to put on record what unbelievable people they've been. They've been two guys instrumental in building the culture and they leave with the full support of the organisation.
"A huge thanks to them both personally for what they've given.
"The beauty of this group is that we don't make it about the championships, we make it about the process. Its all about collective leadership. We all feed off each other and inspire each other.
"I've no doubt next season the boys will come back as hungry as they have been in the last five."
Head coach McCall added: "It's sad for us to say goodbye to two absolute legends of the club. What a great day for Chris Wyles to score two tries and the way he scored them.
"He's been at the club for 10 years and has been as important off the field as he has been on it. Schalk Brits is the same, although he got a yellow card today he'll be chuffed with the way his career's finished."