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Venter hails team spirit
Saracens chief satisfied as Londoners maintain perfect start
Saracens director of rugby Brendan Venter hailed his side's team spirit as they maintained their perfect start to the season with a 22-15 triumph at Newcastle.
Venter conceded his side was some way from their best and were somewhat fortunate to outscore their opponents by three tries to nil, but was delighted they still managed to grind out victory.
Tries from wings Richard Haughton and Chris Wyles and another from Derick Hougaard - who also kicked seven points - saw Sarries home and Venter, who was quick to praise Newcastle, praised his players for their work ethic.
"Newcastle played really well today, they attacked with shape and got a lot of quick ball," he stated. "I thought three tries to nil was not a fair reflection of the game.
"We didn't play well as individuals but we played well as a team. That is what bailed us out today. Some of our real stars were not on fire and there were little mistakes with the ball going down.
"For me as a coach, the most rewarding thing was we can go out there and do that when we are not playing well."
Venter also addressed the booing of his side by a section of their home supporters last week and insisted he was not worried by the incident.
"We want to create a culture that will remain after we have all gone," he continued. "Part of the culture is being positive and seeing things in a positive light.
"Those people that booed, we will bring them with us so I am not even worried about it at all.
"It's just great to have a CEO behind me who says, 'look, don't worry about that, we'll just get on with it'."
The South African went on to deliver an update on the fitness of England captain Steve Borthwick, who sustained a nasty eye injury against Gloucester last week, and revealed he would return for the clash with Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon in the second round of Amlin Challenge Cup pool games on October 15.
"He will be ready for Toulon but I will give him a week's break against Rovigo next week," he added.
"From an England point of view, it will mean he is nice and fresh when they start playing again. This week was an automatic week off but I want to give him one more week."
Bates sees the positives
Newcastle director of rugby Steve Bates acknowledged that his team had been beaten by the better side but was encouraged by the performance of his charges.
"I am disappointed but I thought the better side won the game," he declared. "They squeezed us very well, they have a lot of experience in their side.
"We played really well in the first half but we were working really, really hard and they were more successful at putting us under pressure than we were putting them under pressure.
"We were territorially pinned in our half of the field and we did fantastically well to keep them out."
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