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Heineken Cup: Saracens boss Mark McCall defends substitution policy in Brussels

Last Updated: 20/10/12 7:43pm

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Mark McCall: Satisfied with win despite lack of a bonus point

Mark McCall: Satisfied with win despite lack of a bonus point

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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall defended the substitutions which potentially cost his side a bonus point in their Heineken Cup win over Racing Metro.

Sarries, playing host to their French opponents at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, scored two first-half tries but went off the boil after the break before running in a third score at the death.

It meant the Aviva Premiership outfit fell one try short of maximum points but McCall was still happy with the way he utilised his squad.

"Our philosophy at the club is that we have outstanding players on the bench and we'll use them. We'll continue to do that," he said.

"Schalk (Brits) had an amazing first half and the question will be asked why he came off. But John Smit, who's no mean player himself, and Mako Vunipola came on and they've scrummaged a lot together.

"Our philosophy at the club is that we have outstanding players on the bench and we'll use them. We'll continue to do that."
Mark McCall

"Racing's scrum was putting us under pressure and there are other areas to consider. Our scrum was very good in that last 20 minutes.

"We know there are downsides to the way we operate in terms of substitutions, but we believe they are outweighed by the massive upsides."

McCall's side ensured they will be top of Pool 1 after the second round of fixtures are completed despite not playing a match in England yet.

He added: "It was brilliant playing here. It felt like our first time at Wembley and the players were excited to come here.

"It didn't feel like an away game because we had control of the ground. Everyone's enjoyed coming to Brussels. It was either play here or Watford."

Saracens led 20-3 at half-time but Racing were able to gain a foothold after the interval until a late surge swept the home side clear.

"If you win 30-13 against a side like Racing, you have to be reasonably satisfied," McCall said.

"We went through every emotion today. There was some outstanding stuff in the first half, Racing were chasing shadows at times. But it was frustrating at times in the second half.

"Winning the match 4-0 in terms of points keeps us in control of the group. Nine points from the first two games is a pretty good return.

"The important thing is to gain control of your group and we've done that, but now we have the small matter of Munster back to back."

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