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McCall's Saracens put six-week deadline in place to revive their season

The reigning European champions fell to their sixth defeat in a row when they lost to Clermont yesterday.

Mark McCall at the post-match press conference following Saracens' Champions Cup defeat to Clermont-Auvergne.
Mark McCall at the post-match press conference following Saracens' Champions Cup defeat to Clermont-Auvergne.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

SARACENS DIRECTOR OF rugby Mark McCall says the European champions have given themselves six weeks to save their season after crashing to their sixth successive defeat.

The team went down 46-14 to Clermont on Monday — their heaviest-ever defeat in European competition — capping a miserable weekend for English Premiership clubs.

The Pool 2 match had been delayed by a day due to adverse conditions around Allianz Park but it was the French giants who adapted better to the unfamiliar Monday late afternoon kick-off in front of a near-empty stadium.

“We didn’t see that coming,” said McCall. “I know we’ve lost a few games in a row but they were relatively tight games that we lost by a point or two here or there.”

McCall said he and the players had put their heads together after the match — a repeat of last season’s final — to thrash out how the two-time defending European champions could pull themselves out of their slump.

“What we said in the changing room is that by the end of January we hope we can be proud of how we respond to this difficult situation we find ourselves in,” he said.

“Potentially, that isn’t just about outcomes because we have a difficult game against Clermont away in six days — it’s also about staying tight as a group and sticking together as a group.

“We’ve got enough good players at the club and people who care about the club enough to respond in the right way over a six-week period.”

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The rivals meet again in France on Sunday with Clermont now occupying first place in Pool 2 with three rounds of the group phase remaining — the final two matches will be played on successive weekends in January.

On a miserable weekend for English clubs in the European Champions Cup, Harlequins, Wasps, Exeter, Bath, Northampton and Leicester also lost.

– © AFP 2017

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