Director of rugby Mark McCall admits England’s loss was Saracens’ gain after released stars Alex Goode and Brad Barritt helped fire the Londoners to victory over Bath Rugby.
England coach Stuart Lancaster opted to name an unchanged 23 for the clash with Italy and while that certainly paid off after a 47-17 triumph at Twickenham, the two Sarries men to miss out excelled in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
Full-back Goode assumed kicking duties – collecting 16 points in total – from Charlie Hodgson early on, while Barritt put in a typically lung-busting display at inside centre in a 34-24 win.
And with second-place Bath now just four points ahead in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table, McCall says any win will do as the final run-in approaches.
"I thought (Goode) was phenomenal," said McCall.
"Not just in attack, but he must have made two or three last-ditch tackles on their wingers. He was outstanding.
"I thought Brad Barritt was phenomenal as well. He handled the ball brilliantly at times.
“It's always very disruptive having someone who comes back midweek who hasn't quite got what he wants but it tells you a lot about Brad that he can come back and deliver a performance like that for his club.
"We created plenty of chances, but overall, we're pleased to get four points and the fact that they got nothing from the game. It's all about accumulating as many points as you can now to get into the top four.”
It was the perfect way to respond for Saracens after heading into the month-long Aviva Premiership Rugby break off the back of a last-minute defeat to Gloucester Rugby.
But things did not all go quite their way against Bath as a fourth and bonus-point try eluded McCall’s men, after scoring their third through Chris Ashton early in the second half.
"We had an opportunity at 31-10," McCall admitted.
"We kicked the ball into the corner five minutes out (from the Bath try line) and we had a chance to finish the game off and go to 38-10 and get the bonus point. We didn't take that opportunity.”
Get 20 per cent off a limited number of tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final 2015. Visit http://www.tickethour.co.uk/premierrugby/ to take advantage of this great offer.