McCall relieved with win
Mark McCall admitted he was relieved to see Saracens get off the mark for the new Aviva Premiership season with victory at Harlequins.
Last Updated: 30/09/12 6:04pm
Mark McCall admitted he was relieved to see Saracens get back to winning form with victory at Harlequins.
Owen Farrell out-kicked opposite number Nick Evans as Sarries won 18-16 to hand the champions their first defeat of the campaign.
And the team's director of rugby said the team had passed their first gut-check of the season.
"It's a big relief. In the last couple of weeks we have lost ourselves a bit," he said. "We talked about ourselves and what we're about as a club but we've found ourselves today."
McCall insisted he never had any worries about his young marksman, who started at the expense of Charlie Hodgson.
"Owen came into this match under a little bit of pressure from you guys but he's an international player so there were no worries there."
Farrell, whose goalkicking practice had been restricted by a recent groin injury, said: "I'm not concerned about it at all. I hadn't practised anywhere near as much as I wanted to.
"That isn't an excuse but I stuck to what I knew and going into this one I'd been kicking well in training.
"We've a brilliant kicking coach in Dan Vickers and we've made little changes but I'm still kicking basically the same.
"We were back to where we play as a team, with the intensity we showed. We put things right today.
"The main thing for us was to get back playing for each other. It never really went away - we just needed a little reminder."
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea refused to blame misfiring goalkicker Nick Evans for his side's defeat.
The former New Zealand fly-half missed four penalties, including three fairly straightforward second-half shots, any one of which could have extended Quins' 100 per cent start to the season.
"Of course it would have been completely different but he's won a million games for us and hopefully he'll win a lot more. He's an outstanding player.
"We gave them six penalties and they kicked six penalties. We weren't up to the levels we want to be.
"It became the game they wanted in terms of flow but that's a credit to them. We're disappointed to lose but it's a long, long season.
"We should have won that game but we didn't. We didn't take our opportunities. It wasn't a good game of rugby at all but it was tight.
"The big games are decided by very small margins and they didn't go our way this time. We never get carried away when we win, we're not going to get carried away when we lose."