McCall lauds international stars

Blackpool Citizen: Mark McCall was thrilled with the performances of his returning internationals Mark McCall was thrilled with the performances of his returning internationals

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall praised his returning Six Nations contingent as they secured a battling 15-10 triumph over Sale Sharks.

The likes of Mako Vunipola, Alex Goode and Kelly Brown played a full part in their victory over Sale which took them to the top of the Aviva Premiership table.

They will now go back to their countries as they prepare for the upcoming international games, but McCall was delighted with their contribution on Friday night.

"For the returning internationals, it's not easy to come from one environment to another," he said. "It tells you a lot about our club that Brad Barritt, Mako Vunipola, Chris Ashton, Duncan Taylor, Kelly Brown and Alex Goode can come back and perform the way they did tonight.

"They showed a real class but also desire to play for Saracens and it's to their credit."

McCall also praised the performances of the half-backs as a dominant display after the break overturned a 10-3 half-time deficit in difficult conditions.

He added: "I thought that Charlie Hodgson, Richard Wigglesworth and Neil de Kock controlled the game beautifully. After a six-day turnaround, to come up to Sale is a difficult ask and I thought that we were deserved winners.

"I thought that we played well in the first half and deserved to be up at half-time but we weren't. What we did this time around was show a lot of composure and patience in the second half."

Sale's director of rugby Steve Diamond admitted that they were beaten by the better team.

Although a Marc Jones' try had put them in command, they couldn't sustain it and the Sharks succumbed to their seventh Premiership defeat of the campaign.

Diamond said: "They probably handled the weather a little bit better than us. Overall, I'm reasonably happy as we managed to get six points out of these last two games.

"I think they showed their experience in the second half by kicking the ball behind us all the time and we struggled to get out of our 22.

"There were a few decisions early doors that went our way, he probably should have yellow carded Quates (Mark Cueto) for tackling the guy without the ball, but equally there was a high tackle which wasn't seen for us.

"But the decisions didn't go our way in the last 20 minutes, I think the penalty count was 14-6 in the whole game which is disappointing, so we'll have to work on our discipline a bit more."

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