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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall reveals how a crisis meeting with the players helped clear the air
Director of rugby Mark McCall revealed how a clear the air meeting was held with the Saracens players last week to try and get the team back to winning ways.
In the build-up to the game against Harlequins, Saracens were on the brink of a three-game winless streak which would have been their first in the competition since March 2010.
Indiscipline marred a home draw with Leicester and an away defeat to Exeter Chiefs but McCall said crisis talks last Monday, in which the players aired their views openly and honestly, set the platform for recovery.
“We had a meeting on Monday where the players talked about our values and what we’re about as a club,” McCall said.
“It stemmed a little bit from the second half against Leicester where we just lost composure and we were on each other’s cases a little bit and that’s not like us at all.
“We support each other and we enthuse each other and we give each other energy and it’s the first time it’s happened for a while but we spoke and we nipped it in the bud early and today they were phenomenal because we had a couple of setbacks in a tough game.
“It would have been easy to drop our lips after Care’s try but that didn’t happen so it just felt to me that we re-found ourselves today.”
Fly-half Owen Farrell, who slotted six out of six penalties in the 18-16 win over Harlequins, agreed it felt like the team were back to their old selves.
He said: “We put things right in the week and the main thing for us was to get back to that feeling of playing for each other.
“It never went away, we just needed a little bit of a reminder and it showed out there today - the lads really put their bodies on the line for each other and that’s what we’re about.”
Although delighted with the performance overall, McCall added he was still not satisfied with some of his side’s lack of discipline in the scrum.
“I’m still not happy with it,” he said.
“I thought our discipline in the second half kept the game closer than it should have been, we gave away some awful penalties on the half-way line and that kept them very much in the game.
“They were able to get their maul going but thankfully it didn’t cost us this time.”
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