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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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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