Mark McCall admitted Saracens were shocked by their 46-14 collapse to Clermont in a record Champions Cup defeat for the holders.

The heavyweight Pool Two showdown had been delayed by 26 hours due to adverse conditions around Allianz Park and it was the French giants who better adapted to the delay by amassing six tries in a repeat of last season's final.

Saracens lost up to £300,000 due to the postponement and their misery was extended on to the pitch where they crashed to their greatest loss in European competition and a sixth-successive defeat before a crowd of 2,661.

"We didn't see that coming," said McCall, the club's director of rugby.

"I know we've lost a few games in a row, but they were relatively tight games that we lost by a point or two here or there, but we never saw that coming.

"It shows what conceding a couple of early tries for the opposition can do to your confidence, but we missed so many tackles which is unlike us.

"Individuals were falling off tackles and Clermont have the individuals to penalise us for that.

"We felt good as a group before the game, so the postponement wasn't really relevant."

Saracens missed a total of 37 tackles and it was Fijian wing Alivereti Raka who made the most of their generosity, completing his hat-trick inside 25 minutes.

The rivals meet again in France on Sunday with Clermont now occupying first place in Pool Two with three rounds of the group phase remaining.

"What we said in the changing room is that by the end of January we hope we can be proud of how we we respond to this difficult situation we find ourselves in," McCall said.

"Potentially that isn't just about outcomes because we have a difficult game against Clermont away in six days, it's also about staying tight as a group and sticking together as a group.

"We've got enough good players at the club and people who care about the club enough to respond in the right way over a six-week period.

"We have three Champions Cup games and three Aviva Premiership games to try to find some form and get back to our true selves.

"That won't be easy because we've got a few injuries, but let's see how we respond in six weeks time to this very difficult situation."

Clermont were infuriated by the decision to postpone the fixture from 3.15pm on Sunday to 5.30pm yesterday due to the hazardous condition of the approaches to Allianz Park after a night of snowfall.

Last season's beaten finalists insisted they were not consulted throughout a process they describe as "completely absurd" and are angry at multiple changes to the kick-off time for the rearranged fixture.

The main target of their ire was Champions Cup organisers European Professional Cup Rugby (EPCR), and Saracens owner Nigel Wray insisted the governing body is not fit for purpose.

"I understand what Clermont are saying, it's annoying from everybody's point of view. It's important to stress the health and safety officer made his decision, it's nothing to do with us," Wray said.

"We're quite big losers because we've lost a sell-out crowd and will make a substantial loss. But I am a big supporter of our fans and it's not the way this should have been done.

"By now you know my views on organisations like EPCR and the Rugby Football Union, they're all chaotic. I don't think they work and this is another example of why. It's bad for the image of the Champions Cup.

"I thought the closed doors statement from EPCR was outrageous. It was a unilateral statement, we had been promised there would be consultation."