Fixtures - Top Bar

European Round-Up: McCall praises Saracens spirit after sneaking past Sale Sharks

BillyVunipola1005SB

Director of rugby Mark McCall admitted it took all of the grit and determination in Saracens’ locker to hold off Sale Sharks in their European Rugby Champions Cup clash on Saturday.

Sarries headed north to the AJ Bell Stadium knowing that nothing less than a victory would suffice if they wanted to have any hope of making it out of a Pool that includes Clermont and Munster.

But their Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals Sale almost played the role of party poopers to perfection as tries from Magnus Lund and Andrei Ostrikov gave McCall’s men a real fright.

But scores from Owen Farrell and Billy Vunipola, plus some expert game management from the former in slotting a penalty and a drop goal late on, held off an energetic Sharks side to eventually triumph 19-15.

And after being dropped by England during the autumn internationals, it was the form of Farrell that most impressed his director of rugby.

“Owen Farrell's a brilliant young player. He comes back to the club and he understands that he's not played much rugby this year,” he said.  

“With Charlie Hodgson off injured, it was wonderful to have someone of Owen's calibre to see us home.

"We know how difficult this place is to come and we've got to do the business against them again next week.”

Defeat for Sale means their chances of progressing to the knockout stages are now over and director of rugby Steve Diamond admitted his side needed to start turning performances into points.  

“We could have won in the last five minutes and we probably lacked a bit of composure,” he said.

“We were hammering at their line, getting penalty after penalty and probably in the Premiership they would have got a yellow card, but it wasn't to be.

“It's difficult to be pleased with a performance like that in the 'Group of Death' as it's called.

“We can put up a good show but being close isn't good enough and we should have won the game.”

Elsewhere defending Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Northampton Saints impressed in claiming a bonus-point win in Treviso that keeps them well in contention to progress to the knockout stages.

Saints ran in six tries in all in a 38-15 win – Alex Waller, Samu Manoa, Ben Foden, Luther Burrell and George Pisi all crossing the whitewash in addition to a penalty score.

Stephen Myler also added four conversions and forward coach Dorian West was impressed with his side’s effort.

“When you come to these places your forwards have got to be ruthless, you have to work hard and take the energy out of their defence,” he said.

“We knew it was going to be tough, especially early on. They are a good side with some really good players.

“Racing Metro had come here and left without a bonus point so we knew we would have to be at our best if we were going to get maximum points.

“We worked really hard in the first half, especially the forwards, to take the legs out of their pack and that created some space later on. That's exactly what we thought would happen and we have got to be pleased with our game plan.”

In the European Rugby Challenge Cup it was less good news for London Irish who fell to a 24-14 defeat to Cardiff Blues.

Having begun the competition with back-to-back wins Brian Smith and his side were optimistic about their chances of progressing and the director of rugby insists this defeat has not rattled them too much.

“We believe we can still win this pool,” he said.

“We had a good points difference going into the game, it would've been nice to squeeze a bonus point out of this but we have a chance to level it up next week.

“We're not where we wanted to be but we knew this was going to be like a mini test series. The key thing for us is to prepare well and give ourselves a good opportunity.

“We got our tactics right. They were keen to establish a drive platform against us but we managed to dilute that to a certain extent.

“It's disappointing not to get any points tonight but we've got to dust ourselves off and get ready for next week.

“We knew we were up against a quality defence. We just didn't get the job done tonight.”
 
 
Sale 15 Saracens 19
 
Sale
Tries: Lund, Ostrikov
Conversion: Cipriani
Penalty: Cipriani
 
Saracens
Tries: Farrell, B.Vunipola
Penalties: Hodgson, Farrell
Drop goal: Farrell
 
Attendance: 7,053
Referee: Leighton Hodges
 
Treviso 15 Northampton Saints 38
 
Treviso
Tries: Nitoglia, Carlisle
Conversion: Carlisle
Penalty: Carlisle
 
Northampton 
Tries: Manoa, Waller, Foden, Burrell, penalty, G.Pisi
Conversions: Myler 4
 
Attendance: 1,000
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon
 
Cardiff Blues 24 London Irish 14
 
Cardiff Blues
Tries: Smith, L.Williams, Dacey
Conversions: Anscombe 3
Penalty: Anscombe
 
London Irish
Tries: Cross, penalty
Conversions: Geraghty 2
 
Attendance: 5,413
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz 

This Christmas, Premiership Rugby is offering fans a special gift with selected tickets for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Click here to find out about this limited offer.

 

Latest News

Anthony Watson targets England jersey ahead of Bath Rugby return

Anthony Watson is a man on a mission for club and country in 2017, hell-bent on regaining his England shirt ahead…

anthonywatson16sb1111theclash

Bristol Rugby skipper David Lemi returns for Pau clash

David Lemi returns as skipper when Bristol Rugby face Pau in the European Challenge Cup on Sunday (3pm KO). Only…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Will Spencer and Connor Braid set for Worcester Warriors debuts

Worcester Warriors duo Will Spencer and Connor Braid will make their club debuts this Saturday when they take on Newport…

carlhogg1111sb1617

Exeter Chiefs side to face Bordeaux Begles

Nothing less than victory will suffice for Rob Baxter and his Exeter Chiefs side ahead of Sunday’s European Champions Cup…

Jack Nowell in last season's Aviva Premiership Rugby final

Kurtley Beale named in Wasps team to face Connacht Rugby this Sunday at the Ricoh Arena

Kurtley Beale named in Wasps team to face Connacht Rugby this Sunday at the Ricoh Arena Wallaby signing Kurtley Beale…

Kurtley Beale will make his Wasps debut in the Champions Cup

England quartet return for Saracens European clash with Sale Sharks

Saracens have named their side to face Sale Sharks in Saturday’s round three of the European Rugby Champions Cup clash…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Harlequins team to play Timisoara Saracens

Harlequins has announced the squad to play Timisoara Saracens in Round 3 of the European Rugby Challenge Cup at the…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Leicester Tigers team news for European Champions Cup trip to Ireland

Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs return to the Leicester Tigers line-up for Saturday's European Champions Cup trip to face Munster…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Sale Sharks name side to face Saracens in European Rugby Champions Cup

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Saturday (kick off…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Ewels and Stooke back for Bath Rugby

Charlie Ewels and Elliott Stooke both return to the Bath Rugby starting line-up tomorrow when they face Cardiff Blues in…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Fisher hails ‘outstanding’ Gloucester Rugby after La Rochelle win

Gloucester Rugby ran in four tries as they romped to an impressive European Rugby Challenge Cup win over La Rochelle,…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Shervington re-joins Wasps on short-term contract

Edd Shervington has signed a three-month contract with the club to provide cover at hooker, following injuries to Tom Cruse…

Edd Shervington

Dean Hammond – We’ll play a positive brand of rugby

Winger Dean Hammond insists Worcester Warriors will play a positive brand of rugby as they prepare for Saturday's European Challenge…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Premiership Rugby clubs in Europe live on TV

Aviva Premiership Rugby’s finest return to European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup action this weekend looking to build on…

tvrelease1111

Josh Beaumont backs Sale Sharks’ new boys to shine

Marquee summer signings AJ MacGinty and Josh Charnley are primed and ready to make their presence felt in the second…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match officials for this weekend’s European fixtures

Northampton Saints will face Leinster in a rematch of the memorable 2011 final as the European Rugby Champions Cup returns…

629845781DM00026_Saracens_v

Sam Egerton ready for fierce Lyon challenge

Scrum-half Sam Egerton believes Newcastle Falcons can push on and meet ‘fire with fire’ against Lyon in the European Rugby…

Sam Egerton making a break against Ospreys in the Challenge Cup

Geoff Parling: Chiefs can draw European inspiration from last season’s heroics

Following two defeats from two, qualification for the European knock-out stages may look like mission improbable – but if there’s…

666709985_ht_1936_5ffe036790f2651d04cf02d772136916.jpg

Aaron Morris desperate for Quins to sort out away form

Aaron Morris is proud of Harlequins’ record at the Stoop but the full-back has warned his teammates the season will…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Fenton-Wells confident Lam will make impact at Bristol Rugby

Bristol Rugby flanker Nick Fenton-Wells is confident the club have acquired a top coach in Pat Lam but won’t let…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library