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Saracens return to top of Premiership with Harlequins win in front of record crowd at Wembley
11:02am Sunday 23rd March 2014 in Sport
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall questioned why a dangerous tackle on David Strettle was not referred to the television match official in the Aviva Premiership leaders' 39-17 victory over Harlequins.
Strettle was carried off on a stretcher in the sixth minute after a swinging arm from number eight Maurie Fa'asavalu knocked him out amid a physical start to the Wembley showdown.
Referee Tim Wigglesworth failed to consult the TMO even though Strettle received treatment for several minutes.
Replays of the incident were damming, but McCall refused to condemn Fa'asavalu.
"I didn't see the angle everyone is talking about, so I can't comment on it," McCall said.
"It would be foolish for me to say anything. David is OK. He's pretty shaken up but he's OK.
"The Richard Wigglesworth penalty which the referee came back for was something out of nothing compared to what happened to David.
"There is a system that can be used by the officials in this situation. Clearly it wasn't used as well as it could have been.
"In all matches a couple of things go on that probably shouldn't."
The tackle is sure to interest the citing officer, but Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea backed Fa'asavalu. He said: "There should be nothing on that. I've seen it."
Owen Farrell, Chris Ashton, George Kruis, Jacques Burger and Marcelo Bosch scored tries as Saracens reclaimed top spot in the Premiership, aided by Northampton's defeat at Sale.
A new attendance record for a club match of 83,889 was set at Wembley, but it was a far from thrilling spectacle as Quins were a distant second best.
"We're happy with that. It was a brilliant occasion and to have a record crowd for a run of the mill Premiership game was brilliant," O'Shea said.
"At times we played some good stuff, but we weren't at our best. When we got it right we were pretty clinical.
"It's a happy but frustrated changing room because every time we got our noses in front, we allowed them back into the match."
O'Shea rested his England contingent of Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Mike Brown who were given the weekend off following their involvement in the RBS 6 Nations.
Quins paid the price by losing more ground in the race for a place in the play-offs, but O'Shea was unapologetic.
"Mentally and physically I felt it was the right thing for them to have a break. You have to look after players," O'Shea said.
"Mike Brown wasn't training on Monday or Tuesday leading up to the Italy game and before that. I spoke to him over two weeks ago and said take the week off.
"With the other two I just thought that after last week we'd give them time off.
"I felt the best thing for their long-term future was to give them the rest. It would have been easy to play them."
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