Mark McCall questions work rate of 'some people' as Saracens lose at Northampton

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Mark McCall admitted Saracens suffered a work-rate issue in their five-try defeat at Northampton.

Saracens leaked five scores at Franklin’s Gardens in a 41-30 Premiership loss in the East Midlands. Alex Lewington scored twice in the final two minutes to clamber a four-try bonus point, after charge-down scores from Theo McFarland and Ben Earl.

Saracens will be happy to sneak a bonus point out of a comprehensive loss, but rugby director McCall was frustrated that several of his players struggled to hit top condition.

McCall refused to hit out at his side, but did lament their shortcomings on the night.

“The only thing I suppose would be problematic would be that I think of our inability to cause them problems and their ability to cause us problems was caused by some work rate issues, by some people not the whole team,” said McCall. “And that’s never a good thing to have to say.

“We pride ourselves on being the opposite of that. If you want to be the team you want to be then you’ve got to have everybody right at it from an effort point of view, and we got that a bit wrong today.

“I don’t think it’s ever a conscious choice by a player not to, but sometimes for whatever reason you’re just a bit slower off the floor and slower into position. And if you’ve got a couple of people, or two or three people like that, it presents problems. And we’ll have a look at it and see if that’s right or not.”

Saracens slipped from hammering Quins 52-7 at Tottenham last weekend to this frustrating loss at Northampton in the space of a week.

Saints lost comprehensively at Bristol last weekend and were able to turn the tables on that scoreline for themselves. Northampton pulled off a rare league double over Saracens, in another frustration for the Men In Black.

“Overall we’re disappointed, obviously, last week we saw when everybody was at it and engaged what we were capable of,” said McCall. “Saints were some who were right at it today and some who were just a little bit off, and against a good team like Northampton you pay for that.

“We showed some grit during the game, and we show it again to get an unlikely bonus point at the end.

“At half-time we were within inches of going level but for a knock-on. But I don’t want to get away from our disappointment. We set ourselves a target of stepping up a level today and I don’t think we achieved it.”

Owen Farrell came off as a precaution due to a hamstring twinge, while Juan Martin Gonzalez picked up a neck concern and Billy Vunipola an ankle complaint.

“Owen had a hamstring awareness, is the best way to describe it, so we’ll see,” said McCall. “With Juan and Billy, I’m not sure how serious they are, so we’ll wait and see with them as well.”