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Aviva Premiership: Mark McCall praises Saracens spirit
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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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|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