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- Aviva Premiership
- 20th Apr 2014
- KO 15:00
- Ground: Kingston Park
- Att: 4,878
Aviva Premiership: Mark McCall points to Saracens' strength in depth
We took the opportunity to leave a lot of players at home with one eye on the Clermont semi-final, but it just shows the quality of our squad we can do that and get a win. We're chuffed with that.
Quotes of the week
Saracens' decision to rest some of their star names ahead of next week's Heineken Cup semi-final paid off when the Aviva Premiership leaders edged Newcastle 23-18 at Kingston Park.
Sarries director of rugby Mark McCall said: "We took the opportunity to leave a lot of players at home with one eye on the Clermont semi-final, but it just shows the quality of our squad we can do that and get a win. We're chuffed with that.
"It moves us up to 80 points in the log that more or less guarantees us the top spot in the competition at the end of the season.
"We also came through without any injuries and we have some reinforcements coming back and Alex Goode came through. I thought he was the stand-out player on the park in the first half and we didn't want him to miss another week with the Clermont game coming up.
"Resting that many players is a balancing act and we're lucky that we have the squad to be able to do that. We trust this group of players and they have done us well. Today was our 18th win out of 20 this season, which is pretty good.
"We have to manage our resources as best we can. It's difficult but when you have a good squad it makes it easier.
"The players front up and when you finish top of the table for two seasons running, it shows you're doing something right. And when you put yourself in enough semi-finals, you're going to win some of them and that's, hopefully, this year."
Alex Tait's late scrambled try - confirmed after an agonising wait for the TMO's decision - and Phil Godman's conversion clinched a losing bonus point for the Falcons to extend the gap between Newcastle and bottom side Worcester to eight points with just two games left.
"I'll tell you if that bonus point is important or not at the end of the season," said Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards.
"We have to go to Wasps and are at home to Exeter, and if we play like we did today then we should get something out of both those games.
"I could almost say I enjoyed the game, which was a quality match, but I never enjoy a loss. We had a young group out there and they acquitted themselves well. We were competitive for most of the game and we fought back well, but I would have much preferred a win.
"We showed a little bit of naivety and inexperience especially with their first try, but it was against a side who are at the top in terms of precision and accuracy when they do things.
"It's all good experience and hopefully we will be able to take that into next season and hopefully that will be in the Premiership."
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com