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Aviva Premiership: Mark McCall pleased after Saracens beat Exeter

Last updated: 23rd February 2014   Subscribe to RSS Feed

rob baxter exeter chiefs

Rob Baxter: Saw his side lose at Saracens

Joel Tomkins  Saracens Aviva Premiership

Big impact: Joel Tomkins is tackled by Dave Ewers and Ian Whitten

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Saracens boss Mark McCall was delighted with England centre Joel Tomkins' first full appearance since missing the start of the Six Nations through a knee injury as his side beat Exeter 23-10 in the Aviva Premiership.

Tomkins, sidelined for three months after damaging his knee in England's 30-22 Twickenham defeat by New Zealand in November, paired up with fellow England centre Brad Barritt.

McCall thinks Tomkins made a big impact in hard-fought victory which keeps Saracens in second place, a point behind Northampton, ahead of Friday night's visit to in-form Bath.

"It's great to see Joel back," said director of rugby McCall.

"In the first 20 minutes we were lethargic. We were a second off in everything we did but then Joel made a couple of important breaks and got us on the front foot.

"(Next opponents) Bath are on a roll at the moment and have been playing some good rugby.

"Their set-piece is very strong and it's going to be a big battle.

"It was a mountain for us to come back from 7-0 down when they had a strong wind in the second half but we dominated the set-piece today."

The Saracens boss added that former England lock Mouritz Botha, carried off during the second half after suffering a worrying-looking neck injury in a tackle, had been taken to hospital "as a precaution but I think he's OK".

Baxter setback

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter, whose side suffered their fifth successive Premiership defeat after establishing a 10-7 lead after 47 minutes, described the latest setback as "the story of our season".

He said: "We were very competitive for large parts of the game but when the pressure comes on we start to struggle a little bit.

"We scored the penalty which took us into the lead but then we dropped the restart which becomes a penalty and we're struggling.

"From being a team in the lead, with the wind behind us, all of a sudden we found ourselves playing in our own half - but all credit to Saracens. They played the elements exceptionally well.

"I can't fault the players for effort. We had quite a lot of good individual performances out there but it's just some of the decision-making under pressure. We have to keep getting better at it."

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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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