McCall thrilled as in-form Sarries storm toward a home semi-final

SARACENS director of rugby Mark McCall feels his side are storming toward sealing home advantage in the Aviva Premiership Rugby play-offs after seeing off Northampton Saints 28-24 yesterday.

A late burst from Saints threatened to derail Sarries’ perfect day as Luther Burrell and George North dotted down in the final 10 minutes. However, David Strettle, Kelly Brown and Marcelo Bosch, who also added two impressive penalties, had all touched down to build an insurmountable gap.

With three rounds of the regular season remaining, McCall is thrilled by his team’s form.

“I was chuffed with how we played. That’s up there with as good as we’ve played all season,” he said.“We were hard to handle at times and to play like that at Allianz Park is where we want to be in the semi-final.

“We’re another step closer to getting a home semi-final. We need two more points and that will give the players a huge amount of confidence.”

Elsewhere, London Irish stormed to a 40-12 victory over Newcastle Falcons as Andy Fenby scored a first-half hat-trick.

Fergus Mulchrone, Eamonn Sheridan and Gerard Ellis also crossed before the break, but director of rugby Brian Smith insists the performance of Exiles’ defensive effort was even more rewarding than witnessing the win.

“We got off to a flyer and went on with it which was good,” said Smith. “But I honestly felt the second half was a better performance than the first half, because defensively we got a massive work out.”

On Friday, play-off chasing Harlequins recorded a 27-12 bonus-point victory at Sale Sharks.

London Wasps take on Gloucester Rugby in The Stinger at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday 19 April. Tickets start at £10 (£1 donation to Sport Relief) from ticketmaster.co.uk/wasps