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Aviva Premiership: Mark McCall not looking too far ahead after fourth straight win
We just always want to be there or thereabouts and put ourselves in the frame for the top four, but we never look too far ahead.
Quotes of the week
- Saturday's Aviva Prem preview
- Sunday's Aviva Prem preview
- Mallinder pleased for North
- Ford looking to motor on
- Davies delight at comeback
- Burke takes Tigers positives
- Young delight at first win
- Baxter's good foundations
- North off mark in Saints win
- Wasps off the mark in style
- Tigers climb with Exeter win
- Falcons downed by Gloucester
- Saracens retain perfect start
- Bath too good for Irish
Saracens boss Mark McCall warned the end of the season is more important than the start after they won their fourth straight Aviva Premiership match.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall warned it is the business end of the Aviva Premiership that matters following the 22-12 victory over title rivals Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop.
The north London club opened up a four-point lead at the top of the table after dismantling Quins in the second half, Chris Ashton crossing in the 51st minute and Owen Farrell kicking five penalties and a conversion.
It was the first time in four matches that Saracens failed to finish with a try-scoring bonus point, but it was a result that confirmed them as the team to beat in the Premiership.
"In many ways that was the most satisfying win we've had this season," said McCall, who confirmed Farrell left the pitch late on with cramp only.
"Gloucester, Bath and Quins in a row was a tough ask, but it's been the manner of the way we started - we've played some decent rugby along the way.
"We've got off to a flyer, but Northampton look incredibly impressive. But it's not about how you start, it's about how you end.
"We just always want to be there or thereabouts and put ourselves in the frame for the top four, but we never look too far ahead."
Quins led 12-6 at half-time through four penalties from Nick Evans, but they were then picked apart with Saracens' power game forcing a succession of mistakes as they flung the ball wide out of hope.
"We were very good for most of the game. When you're down 12-6 teams can react by losing composure, but this group is very good at retaining composure and doing the right things," McCall said.
"We built pressure on them all the way through in that second half. We won the second half 16-0 and played really well."
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea was impressed by Saracens, but agreed with McCall that it is too early to view them as Premiership champions in waiting.
"They're physically very powerful and were the better side on the day," O'Shea said.
"We played well in the first half, but in the second half we just didn't hold on to the ball for any length of time.
"Saracens have huge strength in depth and probably have most of their key players fit.
"Everyone knows they are an excellent team and will take some stopping, but Northampton went six from six at the start of last season. Things change drastically in the season.
"We're disappointed to lose at home, but it's important the players don't feel sorry for themselves.
"We're fine and I'm very comfortable with the group of players we have."
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|Friday 24th April|
|19:45||Bath vs London Irish|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale Sharks vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Northampton vs Saracens|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Friday 8th May|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Bath|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Northampton vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Irish|
|15:15||Wasps vs Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 10th May|
|14:00||Saracens vs Exeter|
|Saturday 16th May|
|15:30||Exeter vs Sale|
|15:30||Leicester vs Northampton|
|15:30||Bath vs Gloucester|
|15:30||Newcastle vs Harlequins|
|15:30||London Irish vs Wasps|
|15:30||London Welsh vs Saracens|
|Sunday 12th April|
|London Irish 25 - 23 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 13 - 40 Wasps|
|Exeter 21 - 10 Northampton|
|Saturday 11th April|
|Saracens 22 - 6 Leicester Tigers|
|Harlequins 29 - 26 Gloucester|
|Friday 10th April|
|Newcastle Falcons 19 - 29 Bath|
|Sunday 29th March|
|London Welsh 14 - 29 Bath|
|Sale Sharks 23 - 6 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th March|
|Saracens 42 - 14 Harlequins|
|London Irish 22 - 21 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 25 - 18 Exeter|
|Friday 27th March|
|Northampton 52 - 30 Wasps|
|Sunday 8th March|
|Newcastle Falcons 12 - 16 Leicester Tigers|
|Wasps 17 - 26 Saracens|
|Saturday 7th March|
|Gloucester 33 - 33 Northampton|
|Exeter 74 - 19 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 26 - 20 London Irish|
|Friday 6th March|
|Bath 12 - 3 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com