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Dublin: 5°C Monday 18 January 2021

'We were able to harass Leinster and put them under pressure'

Saracens coach Mark McCall outlines his side’s tactics today as Leinster’s winning streak came to an end.

Saracens targeted Keenan in the back-field.
Saracens targeted Keenan in the back-field.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

MARK MCCALL, THE Saracens coach, has outlined the plan his team had to counteract Leinster’s strengths today.

Coming into this match, Leinster had won 25 games on the trot. Significantly, though, they had not met a team of Saracens’ quality. 

And they paid the price. Not even a stirring second-half comeback could get them a semi-final spot. Saracens were just too good; their strategy too smart.

“I wouldn’t want to take too much credit for finding weaknesses in the Leinster team, there’s not too many glaring weaknesses to be honest,” McCall said afterwards.

“What we did talk about was trying to put them into some positions that they’re not normally accustomed to being in. Trying to harass them in the back-field as much as we could, force them to do things they ordinarily wouldn’t want to do 20 or 30m from their own goal-line.

“We just managed to put them under enough pressure for that first 40 minutes in particular, to make them make mistakes and give us some penalties.

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“We obviously scored a good try from a set-piece.

“The players went out there and they did it, they were so engaged and had so much energy that they were able to harass them and put them under some pressure.”

Joy was unconfined in the Sarries dressing room. They now remain in the hunt to retain their title and afterwards Brad Barritt didn’t shy away from explaining how much this win meant to them.

“It was the prospect of having another week together,” he said.

“We know after this season there will be a slightly different looking squad and we owed it to ourselves to have a big game. We showed a huge amount of character playing in games that don’t mean anything.

“Today was about fighting for something tangible. We owed it to ourselves to represent the Saracens badge and I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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