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Mark McCall hails his England stars after thumping win over Harlequins
I've got to take my hat off to our English guys who had a difficult weekend last weekend . All of them, to a man, wanted to play today.
Quotes of the week
Saracens boss Mark McCall praised his England stars after their superb performances in the 27-12 victory over Harlequins.
Owen Farrell contributed 17 points, while Alex Goode, Chris Ashton, Brad Barritt and man-of-the-match Mako Vunipola all bounced back from their Six Nations disappointment in some style.
The victory puts Sarries five points clear at the top ahead of Leicester, and eight ahead of Quins in third.
"I've got to take my hat off to our English guys who had a difficult weekend last weekend . All of them, to a man, wanted to play today," said director of rugby McCall.
"It says a lot about the environment and the general group that they are so keen to come back and enjoy it so much - but some of our non-internationals were pretty good today as well."
McCall picked out Ashton, who is under pressure after some below-par performances for England.
He said: "Chris had a really top game and got himself involved, for a guy who has taken his criticism over the last few weeks.
"Two years ago we thought Chris Ashton was the best player in the world and he just needs to have the confidence that his coaches believe in him."
McCall also had words of praise for the way man-of-the-match Vunipola for his battling effort against scrum machine James Johnston, who is joining Saracens from Quins in the summer.
"The best thing he did today was scrummage against James Johnston. For a young prop, with only 12 months in the Premiership behind him, we all know he can do incredibly special things in the loose but he knows what he does in the tight is very important and he did it well today," McCall said.
Conor O'Shea, the Harlequins director of rugby, admitted his team had been outplayed and outmuscled.
"Very disappointed," said O'Shea. "We made too many errors and turned the ball over without really building any phases.
"Physically we were beaten, which is irritating beyond belief. We always pride ourselves on saying results don't matter but performances do - and we didn't perform today.
"We'll learn our lesson but the championship isn't decided today. They were worthy winners but we didn't perform anywhere close to what we know we are capable of.
"What we have to make sure is we play the way we can. We didn't today and you credit that to Saracens - they were excellent - but we will see them again."
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|Sunday 21st December|
|14:00||Wasps vs London Irish|
|Friday 26th December|
|15:00||London Irish vs London Welsh|
|Saturday 27th December|
|14:00||Bath vs Exeter|
|14:00||Sale vs Leicester|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Saracens|
|16:30||Harlequins vs Northampton|
|Sunday 28th December|
|14:30||Gloucester vs Wasps|
|Friday 2nd January|
|19:45||Northampton vs Newcastle Falcons|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|14:00||Saracens vs London Irish|
|16:30||Exeter vs Gloucester|
|Sunday 4th January|
|14:00||Wasps vs Sale|
|14:00||Leicester Tigers vs Bath|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Harlequins|
|Friday 9th January|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Saracens|
|Saturday 10th January|
|14:00||Sale vs Northampton|
|15:00||Bath vs Wasps|
|15:15||Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 11th January|
|14:00||Newcastle Falcons vs London Welsh|
|15:00||London Irish vs Exeter|
|Saturday 14th February|
|15:00||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|15:00||Northampton vs London Irish|
|15:00||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|15:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle Falcons|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale Sharks 18 - 11 Exeter|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Newcastle Falcons 13 - 18 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 14 - 43 Northampton|
|London Irish 9 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Exeter 27 - 19 Saracens|
|Leicester Tigers 18 - 16 Wasps|
|Friday 28th November|
|Bath 25 - 6 Harlequins|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 24 - 31 Northampton|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com