Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall says his side were more than a match for Toulon and believes the Men in Black have come a long way since losing to Clermont in the competition's quarter-finals last year.

Jonny Wilkinson's pinpoint accuracy with the boot saw Sarries lose 24-12 at Twickenham but the scoreline was not a fair reflection of the game as Saracens were in contention for the majority of the contest.

And McCall says he takes satisfaction from the improvements made since his team were thrashed 22-3 by another French team, Clermont Auvergne, last year.

McCall said: "We did a lot of very good things but more importantly at our club we talk about growth and we talk about progress.


"When I look back 14 months to what happened in the Clermont quarter-final we were by miles second best in that game, beaten off the park, and it didn't feel that way at all today.

"It felt like we went toe to toe with Toulon, we were every bit as good as they were, it was a game that could have been won by either side.

"It was a really close game, a really tight game," McCall continued.

"The scoreline at the end doesn't say that, it looks like it's a comfortable victory for Toulon, that wasn't the case.

"We had a couple of decent opportunities in their 22 - we couldn't take those opportunities, we couldn't sustain enough pressure and the game got away from us at the end.

"But for 65 minutes there was nothing in the game."

The Sarries boss also lamented the refereeing of Allain Rolland who he said gave the advantage to the defending team and spoiled the spectacle of the match.

He said: "It will be interesting to try and find out how many penalties were given against the attacking team today. 

"It seemed to me without having the stats in front of me that it was a lot and when you have that kind of game and the defensive team are rewarded and the attacking team isn't rewarded having the ball is of no value.

"You get a game where it's 24-12, the neutral comes along and there's no tries, hardly any try-scoring chances and if that's how the game is going to be refereed that's the kind of game you're going to get.

"The defensive team won out, it was better to kick the ball than play the ball and that's the way the game was - maybe they adapted to that a bit better than we did."

Brad Barritt and Ernst Joubert were both forced off with injuries but it is too soon to know how long the pair will be out for. They will both be assessed this week.