Mark McCall says Saracens' 31-27 defeat at the hands of Leicester Tigers "felt like a win"

Times Series: Justin Melck is dismissed at Welford Road. Picture: Action Images Justin Melck is dismissed at Welford Road. Picture: Action Images

Mark McCall said Saracens' 31-27 defeat by Leicester Tigers "felt like a win" after his side played much of the second-half with 14 men following Justin Melck's contentious red card.

The 31-year-old German international was sent off shortly after the break for alleged eye-gouging, leaving a much-changed Sarries on the back foot for the second half.

In being sent off, Melck becomes the first Saracens player to be dismissed since Ben Coles in 1999.

McCall's side displayed no little resolve against the reigning Premiership champions and tries from Ben Spencer (2) and Jack Wilson saw the Men in Black run Leicester close at Welford Road.

Speaking to Saracens' website afterwards, McCall said of the loss: "31-27. It feels like a bit of win to be honest - considering the team we had out here and the fact we were down to 14 men."

Reflecting on the decision to send off Melck, McCall observed: "It seems very unusual for a touch judge who’s in the position he’s in to make that kind of call and decide not to refer it to the fourth official, which he had the opportunity to do.

“Their player didn’t complain about it at the time, there was no complaint, and their player has subsequently said that nothing happened," continued McCall.

"To make a call of that magnitude with 40 minutes left in the match is staggering, and we’ll be looking to have the decision overturned. Justin Melck isn’t that kind of player - it was a dreadful decision."

Saracens will now host Harlequins in their Premiership semi-final at Allianz Park on Saturday, May 17 at 2pm.

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