McCall happy with tough win

Worcester came to scrap... credit to them, says Sarries boss

Last updated: 18th September 2011   Subscribe to RSS Feed

McCall happy with tough win

McCall: Frustrating afternoon despite win

They had 14 men in defence with one behind, and while we played some good rugby during the first half, we found them very difficult to break down."

Mark McCall
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Saracens rugby director Mark McCall praised Worcester after his side were made to fight hard for their 18-6 victory over the Premiership newcomers on Saturday.

McCall said he had been frustrated by the defending champions' struggles before second half tries from David Strettle and Brad Barritt sealed the win.

"It's frustrating," he said. "Because Worcester came down here to scrap and fight, and credit to them.

"But they had 14 men in defence with one behind, and while we played some good rugby during the first half, we found them very difficult to break down."

Charlie Hodgson added eight points with the boot but missed a further three penalty attempts on his first start since arriving from Sale over the summer.

McCall insisted the former England fly-half was settling well at the club but would take time to adapt to a different style.

"I thought Charlie Hodgson did very well on his first start," he continued. "Especially when you consider that he had no pre-season with us.

"It takes a little while for a new player to get used to a team's style and Charlie is settling in very quickly."

Frustrated

Worcester boss Richard Hill said his side's performance had been their finest of the season but was frustrated that they had not come away with at least a losing bonus point.

The Warriors rugby director insisted that Barritt's try should have been disallowed after the Sarries centre appeared to be brought down short of the line.

Hill said he was disappointed that referee Llyr Apgeraint-Roberts had not referred the decision to the television match official.

"That was our best performance of the season so far, more physicality and commitment, and clearly the benchmark for the rest of the season." Hill said.

"We did not perform the way you need to in the Premiership at Gloucester last week but this was a big improvement.

"We are disappointed with the decision to award Saracens their second try because it wasn't a try.

"The players are hugely disappointed because they felt Barritt hadn't made the line and wanted the referee to at least consult the television match official. But you play to the whistle and you get on with it.

"But for that we could have taken home a losing bonus point. But I was very pleased with our defence, and had we just managed the final pass on occasions we could have put more points on the board.

Influential

"If you don't look like scoring then you become concerned. But we are creating chances and you know that sooner rather than later you will begin taking them.

"I am pleased with the work-rate. But we are conceding too many penalties. When you are away from home, particularly at the big clubs, you have to be whiter than white because home crowds get onto officials quickly at the slightest offence that they spot."

There was concern for key Saracens forward Schalk Brits, who was stretchered off in a neck brace after receiving lengthy treatment on the field shortly after half time.

But McCall said that the influential hooker had not suffered serious damage and would make a full recovery.

"Schalk Brits took a bang to the head," he said. " He has a stiff neck, but he's up and about. We are pleased that he's recovered quickly."

Asked whether he agreed with Worcester's assertion that Barritt had not scored McCall said: "I didn 't see that, but it was awarded by the referee and we get the points."

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