Heineken Cup: Saracens head coach Mark McCall proud of his side

Last Updated: 29/04/13 8:57am

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Mark McCall: Proud of the progress made by his Saracens side

Mark McCall: Proud of the progress made by his Saracens side

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Saracens head coach Mark McCall praised his side's progress over the last season following their 24-12 defeat to Toulon in the Heineken Cup semi-final at Twickenham.

The 2011 Premiership champions remained in the match until 65 minutes, when Jonny Wilkinson's boot confirmed the result that secures Toulon's place in the Dublin final against fellow French side Clermont-Auvergne.

"The scoreline doesn't show that it was a tight game. When it was a three point or six point game we had opportunities in their 22 but we couldn't take them," said McCall.

"It will be interesting to see how many penalties went against the attacking team - but it seemed like a lot to me.

"It was better to kick the ball rather than play the ball - they adapted better and were happy to hoof the ball down the field in the second half.

"We did a lot of good things, but at our club we talk about growth and progress and when we look back we were second best by miles against Clermont, and it doesn't feel like that this time. Either side could have won it but our growth and progress was there for everyone to see today."

"We did a lot of good things, but at our club we talk about growth and progress and when we look back we were second best by miles against Clermont, and it doesn't feel like that this time. Either side could have won it but our growth and progress was there for everyone to see today."
Mark McCall

Looking ahead to the final, McCall highlighted the different qualities possessed by each side, praising Toulon fly-half Wilkinson after he kicked all of his side's 24 points.

Neck and neck

"Clermont and Toulon are neck and neck so it's going to be a difficult one to call. Clermont have that experience of losing semi-finals but when you've got Jonny, it's hard to bet against Toulon," added McCall.

"He's an icon, but the most impressive things is he had those difficult years and now at 33/34 he's playing his best rugby. He shows a great mentality and always wants to improve."

Looking forward, McCall confirmed that Brad Barritt's ankle injury was a serious concern, whilst also placing attention on his side's clash with Bath in the Aviva Premiership as Saracens look to win their second title in three years.

"Barritt's ankle doesn't look all that good, but it's too early to say on the damage so we'll assess over the next couple of days," stated McCall.

"The season's not over. We've got an awful lot to play for and an important game against Bath next week, so we'll get over this and hope to end what has been a really good season so far."

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