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Heineken Cup: Saracens look to bounce back after loss to Pool 3 rivals Toulouse

Last updated: 19th October 2013   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Heineken Cup: Saracens look to bounce back after loss to Pool 3 rivals Toulouse

Mark McCall: Praised the performances of Owen Farrell and Chris Ashton

This result puts Toulouse in control of the group to a degree, but we still have a lot to play for.

Mark McCall
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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall admits that his side's 17-16 defeat to Toulouse leaves their opponents in charge of Pool 3 - but he insists the losers "still have a lot to play for".

The Aviva Premiership leaders looked on course for victory at Wembley when a try from Chris Wyles and some key kicks from Owen Farrell gave them a 16-7 lead.

However they were unable to hang on in a thrilling second half, Toulouse responding with 10 points in the space of three minutes.

Sarries did all they could to hit back, only for Farrell to see a long-range penalty fall short before a last-gasp drop goal attempt by the fly-half was blocked.

"We had a couple of chances in injury time. Owen's penalty was pretty close," McCall said.

"I thought there were a couple of penalties in those 22 phases at the end but it didn't appear as though they'd be given.

"It demonstrated the fight and composure of the team that we were able to do that. It's unbelievably disappointing to lose.

"This result puts Toulouse in control of the group to a degree, but we still have a lot to play for.

"We must do the job when we have Zebre back to back in December."

Tight game

Things had all looked so rosy for the capital club when centre Wyles crossed in the ninth minute, with Farrell adding the conversion. the British and Irish Lion also slotted over three penalties to open up a useful lead.

"It was a really tight game. We got ourselves into a nine-point lead and in a match as tight as that we should have seen it through," McCall continued.

"That five-metre scrum was a horrible way to lose seven points. That said, our effort, energy, physicality and fight were extraordinary at times.

"Toulouse are a very good team and we had to fight really hard in defence. For an hour we controlled them pretty well."

The Saracens boss was able to take some comfort in the performances of Farrell and Chris Ashton, good news for their employers and also England boss Stuart Lancaster ahead of the autumn QBE Internationals.

"Owen was magnificent, unbelievable, the best player on the pitch," McCall added. "He did every thing and doesn't shoulder any of the blame - he was brilliant.

On winger Ashton, he said: "Chris had a really strong game as well, but he's been good all season."

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