Scrum problems for Sarries ahead of Saints showdown
REACTION: Saracens will have to improve drastically at scrum-time if they are to have any chance of making the Champions Cup play-offs
Director of Rugby Mark McCall says that he is disappointed with the amount of penalties conceded at scrum-time following Saracens' 15-15 draw with Ospreys on Saturday.
The draw means that Saracens head into next weekend's crucial fixture against Northampton hoping for help from elsewhere as they look to continue their defence of their Champions Cup crown into the knock-out rounds.
As it stands, Clermont sits on 18 points, followed by Ospreys (15), Sarries (13) and Saints (out of the running on six points) in Pool Two.
Clermont host Ospreys next week and Saracens are at home to Saints.
Following the game, McCall spoke to the press and explained where he thought the win was lost after Dan Biggar's last-minute penalty salvaged a draw for the hosts.
"It's just disappointing to lose the win like that, it was a scrappy, tight, stop-start sort of game with the weather being the way it was with the rain but ultimately it came down to the penalty count at scrum-time, that was the fundamental problem," said McCall.
"I think that in a scrappy, tight, stop-start game like that the penalty count at set-piece time and in particular at the scrum ultimately determines the outcome of the game and the way it’s played so it’s pretty frustrating."
Saracens have already racked up two big wins over Northampton this season, but Saints beat Clermont earlier on Saturday and will surely provide a stiff test of Sarries' mettle.
McCall said: "Next week we have to try and play better than we did tonight [Saturday], it's important that we give ourselves a shout by winning next weekend and then whatever happens in other groups happens.'
McCall also provided an update on the injury situation with Jackson Wray pulling out just before kick-off while Michael Rhodes and Billy Vunipola left the action at half-time following knocks.
Speaking of the injuries, McCall said: "Billy has an arm injury which we'll obviously look into right away but I don’t know what the extent of the injury is."
"Michael Rhodes and Jackson Wray pulled hamstrings so we had quite a lot to contend with as our entire back-row was off at half-time."