All about the team says Mark McCall as Saracens reach Heineken Champions Cup final
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall said it was a “great team effort” that saw Saracens through to their fourth European final.
Billy Vunipola was again the centre of attention although this time for a man-of-the-match performance and was a thorn in the side of Munster during the 32-16 Heineken Champions Cup win at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.
He certainly earned the ire of the Munster crowd but McCall would not be drawn on him or an incident at the end which saw a fan confront the England number eight.
“Billy was outstanding today but so were all his team-mates to be honest,” said McCall
“We got all the big parts of our game right and it was a great team effort.
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“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.”
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Saracens had taken a narrow three-point lead into half-time and also survived a mini-revival from the Irish side midway through the second period.
But while there were moments of nerves and uncertainty in the crowd, they weren’t replicated on the bench.
McCall said: “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.”
Saracens will now play either Leinster or Toulouse at Newcastle’s St James’ Park on May 11.
And while full-back Alex Goode is looking forward to the experience of playing at the famous home of Newcastle United, he is just happy to have a place in another final.
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.”