McCall and Saracens dreaming of a third European crown
Saracens are back in the Heineken Champions Cup final and dreaming of a third crown in four years.
And head coach Mark McCall admits his side were well worth their impressive victory over Munster in Saturday’s semi-final at the Ricoh Arena.
Michael Rhodes and Billy Vunipola crossed for Sarries’ two tries – Owen Farrell adding 22 points from the kicking tee – as they dominated proceedings against the Irish province.
Darren Sweetnam briefly threatened a fightback when he went over in the right corner, but Sarries dominated possession and territory throughout.
And although they only led 12-9 at the interval, victory was secured after the break when Rhodes went over after relentless attacking phases in the Munster 22.
Farrell kept the scoreboard ticking all game long and McCall and his side are now in the final after last year’s disappointing quarter-final defeat to Leinster.
“We got all the big parts of our game right and it was a great team effort,” he said.
“As a group, we were determined not to let this week pass us by. You work incredibly hard to be involved in weeks and games like this.
“We had a brilliant week and you saw that on the pitch.
“I thought we played really well through the entire game and although the scoreboard said 12-9 at half-time, it didn’t feel like that.
“The thing that pleased me most was the players understood that the score didn’t reflect the way we played and what we were building towards.
“I was just really pleased with our intensity and the control we had.”
One of the stars again was full-back Alex Goode.
He was a key figure in Sarries’ first two European crowns – in 2016 and 2017 – and would love nothing more than to complete a hat-trick next month at St James’ Park.
He said: “It’s a brilliant achievement by the whole group.
“We get very excited by this tournament. We love it and it means a lot to the club.
“This club is unbelievably special to me. It’s the only club I’ve known and I love being part of it.
“I cherish these semi-finals and finals because you never know when they’re gone.
“Everyone speaks about [St James’] being in the centre of the city and a special atmosphere, so I’m very excited for that.
“But just being in a European final is very special and I know how hard they are and how well you have to play.”