Premiership: Mark McCall feels tight calls went against Saracens in loss to Sale

Saracens boss Mark McCall looks on. Credit: Alamy
Saracens boss Mark McCall looks on. Credit: Alamy

Saracens boss Mark McCall felt tight calls not going his team’s way was a factor in their 35-24 loss to Sale Sharks in a top-of-the-table clash.

Sale trailed 16-0 after 30 minutes and impressively came back to narrow the gap to Saracens at the top of the Premiership table to six points.

It was an Alex Goode yellow card that turned into a catalyst for Sale Sharks‘ comeback as Alex Sanderson’s men rallied at the AJ Bell Stadium.

Joe Carpenter scored a double while Sam James, Jono Ross and Jean-Luc du Preez also went over, with Rob du Preez making no mistake from the tee.

Momentum shift

Meanwhile, Alex Lewington, Theo Dan, and Kapeli Pifeleti claimed tries for Saracens.

McCall was happy with his team’s start but admitted once the momentum shifted in Sale’s favour, it was difficult to get it back.

“We made a really positive start, played really well for the first 30 minutes and were firmly in control,” he said.

“The stadium was very quiet but then came the yellow card for Alex Goode and very quickly they scored easily and from then on we couldn’t get the momentum back.

“Some days you get the tight calls but today I didn’t think we did. I’m unsure about the yellow card for Alex and everybody in the stadium could see that there was a clear forward pass for their try just before half-time.

“We hung in there and produced a lot of fight and could have snatched it at the end but I’m disappointed to lose our bonus-point at the death.

“I’m very happy with this group as a whole as they’ve secured 24 points in the period when our internationals are away so they are responsible for putting us in this healthy position.

“We will have our internationals back and hopefully we will soon get the two points needed to guarantee us a home semi-final in the play-offs.”

Slow training week showed

Sale boss Sanderson said a “low-key” week of training showed in the initial stages but was pleased with how his side pulled it back.

“We were battered in a very physical game at Exeter (last week) and shattered so we had a low-key training week,” Sanderson said.

“It probably showed as our start was poor and our defence to their driving line-outs was also not good enough.

“I think Mark (McCall) might possibly be aggrieved at certain calls but they tend to even themselves out over the season and we did have opportunities to close that game out earlier than we did.

“A couple of huge defensive sets from us probably proved crucial and by scoring 35 points showed that our attack is in good shape.

“There’s now a good feeling within the group and we have to keep it going and keep improving as we have a few tough away games coming up. But for now we have to celebrate as that’s why we play the game.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Sale Sharks produce stirring comeback to stun leaders Saracens in top of the table clash

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