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Heineken Cup: Saracens sail through thanks to 11-try demolition of Connacht

Last updated: 18th January 2014  

Heineken Cup: Saracens sail through thanks to 11-try demolition of Connacht

Mark McCall: Knows his side will face a tough trip in the next round in Europe

Today it clicked. Maybe it was a little bit easier than it should have been in the last half-hour, but the job had been done in that first 50 minutes.

Mark McCall
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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall hailed a "great performance" from his side as they booked their place in the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup with a 64-6 thrashing of Connacht.

The Aviva Premiership side ran in 11 tries at Allianz Park, three of them for winger David Strettle, to sail through to the last eight of Europe's premier club competition.

McCall was particularly pleased with the way his players bounced back following the loss in Toulouse the previous week, a result which meant they never likely to win Pool 3.

However their demolition job on Connacht means they will be one of the two best runners up at the end of the round-robin stage.

"It was a great performance. We wanted a response after last week's disappointment," said McCall.

"We were good in all areas today - our set-piece was good, obviously our tackling was brilliant at times when we had to defend.

"Today it clicked. Maybe it was a little bit easier than it should have been in the last half-hour, but the job had been done in that first 50 minutes.

"We played some outstanding rugby. We have given ourselves another shot at this competition, which is what we wanted."

Road trip

Sarries will now have to go on the road in the next round, though McCall isn't too concerned.

"We are not a top two or three European side but we are a top eight team. We can step up and learn from defeats at Clermont and Toulouse and can win away," he added.

Opposite number Pat Lam admitted Connacht were below par on their travels, particularly in the second half as they leaked 38 points without reply.

"We know they are a top Premiership side but we were very disappointing as we missed tackles and dropped passes," he said.

Lam also agreed with the decision taken to sin-bin prop Nathan White for stamping on Saracens centre Brad Barritt, adding: "It was reckless but there was no intent and I think the TMO got it correct. It was frustrating as their player was clearly on the wrong side of the ruck."

McCall, however, was not in agreement.

"I'm glad they remained with 15 players but it was a red card as it was exactly the same as last night (Ian Evans being dismissed for the Ospreys against Leinster). Fortunately Brad wasn't injured but that shouldn't be a determining factor," he said on the first-half incident.

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