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# Irish Abroad
McCall believes Saracens can be better and sees brighter future for Munster
The Sarries director of rugby was impressed with Munster’s work rate.

Murray Kinsella reports from the Aviva Stadium

SARACENS ARE ALREADY an intimidating proposition for any side and they showed today that they are better than Munster by some distance, but director of rugby Mark McCall believes there is more to come.

Billy Vunipola celebrates Chris Wyles try Dan Sheridan / INPHO Billy Vunipola was immense for Saracens. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

With the likes of 25-year-old Owen Farrell, 24-year-old Billy Vunipola and 26-year-old Mako Vunipola forming the core of this squad, Irishman McCall sees real room for growth.

“We think we can get better,” said McCall after his side’s 26-10 victory over Munster. “We think the age profile of the team is really good. We obviously want this to go on for a while and if you looked at how we defended today, you saw some really good qualities.”

Indeed, the Saracens defence was the story of the day, as McCall’s men soaked up huge pressure from Munster, particularly in the first half, and ultimately limited them to a late consolation try through CJ Stander.

The Saracens players appeared to take genuine delight in tackling Munster into the ground and, though the southern province’s blunt attack played into his team’s hands, McCall was thrilled with the defensive display.

“I thought our defence was extraordinary. They game started exactly as they would have wanted and we came came away and just conceded three points at that point. We couldn’t really escape our half in the first half but our defence remained good.

“They kicked the ball a lot, they put our back field under some pressure and we knew they had some really good guys in the air and we needed to get numbers around the ball.

Saracens celebrate as Mako Vunipola scores a try Billy Stickland / INPHO Sarries celebrate Mako Vunipola's score. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

“I thought our maul defence was good but our defence was the big thing. We soaked up a lot of pressure and coped with their attack really well.”

McCall does have some sympathy for Munster, having been in similar situations with Saracens during his time in charge.

The former Ireland international believes the best is yet to come from Rassie Erasmus’ squad.

“All I can say is that when we analysed them they were by miles the hardest-working team we had analysed,” said McCall. “They do a lot of things really well, but they’re a young group in a way – like we were five or six years ago.

“Our experiences were that we needed to go through games like this before you get better. We lost some quarter-finals, some semi-finals, some finals. I think they’ll be all the better for this experience and they’ve got some great young players.”

With Munster well beaten, Saracens now shift their thoughts to the Champions Cup final in Edinburgh on 13 May, where they will face the victors of tomorrow’s second semi-final between Leinster and Clermont.

McCall feels both sides would test Saracens, while he praised the impact of Stuart Lancaster on Leinster.

Billy Vunipola and Chris Ashton celebrate after the game Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Vunipola and Chris Ashton after the win over Munster. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

“Clermont have been there and there for years and you think it is going to happen for them at some point. When they have their full team out they are an unbelievable handful – they have got strengths throughout.

“Leinster – their improvement from last year in Europe has been extraordinary. They have always had good players but they have got a really good thing going.

“They have got a brilliant midfield, some young guys who are really making their mark and they seem to have a real confidence in the organisation and obviously Stuart Lancaster has made a massive difference.”

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