McCall hails 'fantastic' defence

Sun, 07 Apr 2013 12:18
Large mark mccall saracens Large chris ashton saracens v uls

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall had no mixed feelings about knocking out his former club, but admitted Ulster were a difficult nut to crack.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall had no mixed feelings about knocking out his former club, but admitted Ulster were a difficult nut to crack.

The English Premiership side's 27-16 triumph at Twickenham carried them through to their second European Cup semifinal and took them a step further than they went in the tournament last year.

"Ulster were the best team we have played this season and it says a lot about our quality we were able to win. Our defence was fantastic and we took our opportunities when they came," said McCall.

"One of the differences between the sides was that we attacked and got into their 22 we generally came away with some points. But our defence was so good it kept them out.

"Twelve months ago we were very disappointed at how we fared against Clermont in the quarterfinals, especially physically. We have moved on from there and we are a better team now.

"If we have to face Toulon at Twickenham in the semifinals then it will be an advantage, but not if we end up playing Leicester Tigers."

Saracens flank Will Fraser, who scored the first try, was named the man of the match, while England flyhalf Owen Farrell kicked 17 points.

"It's a very happy dressing room and I though we were outstanding all game, especially the forwards - they really worked their nuts off," said Farrell.

"It wasn't always neat and tidy, and it wasn't always clear all the time, but if someone made a break and missed a tackle then there was someone there to cover. It was a very physical game.

"Whoever we face in the semifinal it is going to be a massive test and a step up. We will keep on building and try to get better."

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EUROPEAN CUP
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Pool 1
Team P W D L Pts
La Rochelle 2 2 0 0 10
Wasps 2 1 0 1 5
Ulster 2 1 0 1 4
Harlequins 2 0 0 2 1
Pool 2
Team P W D L Pts
Saracens 2 2 0 0 10
Clermont Auvergne 2 2 0 0 9
Ospreys 2 0 0 2 3
Northampton Saints 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 3
Team P W D L Pts
Leinster 2 2 0 0 10
Exeter Chiefs 2 2 0 0 8
Montpellier 2 0 0 2 3
Glasgow Warriors 2 0 0 2 0
Pool 4
Team P W D L Pts
Leicester Tigers 2 1 0 1 6
Munster 2 1 1 0 6
Racing Metro 2 1 0 1 5
Castres 2 0 1 1 3
Pool 5
Team P W D L Pts
Bath 2 2 0 0 8
Toulon 2 2 0 0 8
Scarlets 2 0 0 2 2
Treviso 2 0 0 2 1