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Aviva Premiership: Mark McCall praises Saracens spirit
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- Diamond slams 'foolish' Sale
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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was delighted with the way the Aviva Premiership leaders put last weekend's mauling by title rivals Northampton behind them as they overcame Newcastle Falcons 40-3 at Allianz Park.
Former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson marked his first appearance of the season with an 18-point haul in a victory that saw Saracens move two points clear of nearest rivals Northampton at the top of the table.
"It was the complete performance today," said director of rugby McCall. "We had to build some foundations in the first 20 minutes into a very strong wind but overall we are very pleased.
"A lot of things which weren't very good last week were very good today. Our set piece was outstanding, our scrum was good and to keep them try-less was important as our defence last weekend wasn't great."
Of Hodgson who was so influential on his return, McCall said: "He looked like he'd never been away.
"He hadn't played for two and a half months and to play that well was fantastic and showed what a class player he is."
But McCall was also heartened by the performances of the younger members of his pack, including try-scoring man-of-the-match hooker George, as Saracens increased their lead over Northampton by a point with their bonus-point win.
"There was a lot of energy from Will Fraser, Jackson Wray, George Kruis, Jimmy George - that younger brigade - while full-back Alex Goode was very involved and looked good too.
"Across the board we are very pleased because this is the end of a block of nine games (before the LV= Cup) and we have 28 points in the Premiership," he added.
Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards was disappointed to see his side go in 10-3 down at half-time after their promising start.
Richards said there were "a huge amount of positives" but admitted: "The second half will take a little bit of looking at.
"For 40 minutes they had one chance and scored and I thought we were in with a shout. We'd had a few more chances than them but you have to take your chances.
"If we had been more clinical we might have been points up rather than conceding a soft try but it's games like today that you learn from.
"Some of our boys fronted up very well but you have to keep your patience for 80 minutes and we lost that."
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|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|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|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com