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Match Reaction: Saracens 25 Gloucester Rugby 12

Mark McCall heaped praise on Juan Figallo after the prop helped power Saracens to victory of Gloucester Rugby just hours after the birth of his first child.

Figallo made the trip from Stevenage Hospital to Allianz Park to take his place among the replacements and watched on as Ben Ransom crossed over inside the opening five minutes.

That proved to be the only try of the game, as fly-halves Charlie Hodgson and James Hook did battle from the tee for the rest of the contest but it was the Saracens pack that laid the foundations for victory.

And replacement props Titi Lamositele and Figallo – who replaced Petrus Du Plessis at half-time – were arguably more influential than anyone.

"Juan's wife had a baby and we encouraged him not to come,” said McCall. “At 12 o’clock we told him to stay where he was in Stevenage Hospital, that we'd manage.

"He hung around for 45 minutes after the baby was born and then came down. He wanted to come and help the team. He walked into the changing room to a big roar from the players at 2.15pm."

And, having suffered a heavy home to defeat to Wasps the previous weekend, McCall was proud of the way the whole team bounced back

"That was probably our best win of the season after what happened last weekend," added the Irish director of rugby.

"It was a phenomenal effort from everybody, most particularly from our forwards."

The Cherry & Whites were in touch for much of the game and played for an hour with a numerical advantage, with a Schalk Brits red card on the half-hour mark following hot off the heels of Brad Barritt’s trip to the sin bin.

However, Sarries ensured four Hook penalties was all the visitors could muster and Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys couldn’t hide his frustration.

"No one is pleased with that performance,” he said. “We're very disappointed with the scoreline.

"For me, it felt like watching Gloucester 15-18 months ago. Our set-piece creaked, we lacked discipline in an 18-8 penalty count. You'll never win at Allianz Park with that many penalties.

"Saracens, with 14 men, found a way to win the game and that's why they're a championship team."
 
Saracens: Ransom; Ellery (Saunders 34), Taylor, Barritt, Wyles; Hodgson, Wigglesworth (Spencer 34); Gill (Lamositele 34), Brits, Du Plessis (Figallo 41); Smith, Hamilton; Rhodes (Brown 52), Fraser (Burger 77), Wray
Replacements not used: Mordt, Bosch
 
Gloucester Rugby: Burns; Sharples, Twelvetrees, Atkinson (Trinder 59), McColl; Hook, Braley (Heinz 51); Wood (Murphy 29), Hibbard (Lindsay 71), Afoa (Doran-Jones 67); Thrush, Galarza (Savage 55); Moriarty, Kvesic (Rowan 62), Kalamafoni
Replacements not used: Cook
 
Scorers
 
Saracens
Tries: Ransom
Conversions: Hodgson
Penalties: Hodgson 6
 
Gloucester Rugby
Penalties: Hook 4
 
Attendance: 8,432
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
 

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