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Aviva Premiership: Mark McCall not looking too far ahead after fourth straight win

Last updated: 28th September 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Aviva Premiership: Mark McCall not looking too far ahead after fourth straight win

Mark McCall: Pleased with another impressive performance

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.

Mark McCall
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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."

Mistakes

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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Aviva Premiership Table

Aviva Premiership Table - July 9 2014
Pos Team P Pts
10 Sale Sharks 0 0
Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 5th September
Aviva Premiership
19:45Northampton vs Gloucester
Saturday 6th September
14:00Sale vs Bath
14:00Saracens vs Wasps
15:00Leicester vs Newcastle
16:30London Irish vs Harlequins
Sunday 7th September
14:00London Welsh vs Exeter
Friday 12th September
19:45Harlequins vs Saracens
Saturday 13th September
15:00Gloucester vs Sale
15:00Bath vs London Welsh
15:15Exeter vs Leicester
Sunday 14th September
14:00Wasps vs Northampton
15:00Newcastle vs London Irish
Friday 19th September
19:45Gloucester vs Exeter
Saturday 20th September
14:00Sale vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs Wasps
15:00London Irish vs Saracens
15:15Bath vs Leicester
Sunday 21st September
14:00Newcastle vs Northampton
Friday 26th September
19:45London Welsh vs Gloucester
Saturday 27th September
15:00Leicester vs London Irish
15:00Saracens vs Sale
15:15Northampton vs Bath
Sunday 28th September
14:00Wasps vs Newcastle
14:00Exeter vs Harlequins
Friday 3rd October
19:45Bath vs Saracens

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Phil Edwards

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