Backs thrust Saracens to brink of last eight place


SARACENS boss Mark McCall praised his blossoming English backs after putting one foot in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a tense defeat of Biarritz.

Scrum-half Ben Spencer scored the only try for the Premiership champions, while centre Owen Farrell, who received his first call-up last week, held his nerve to kick five crucial penalties. Full-back Alex Goode also impressed, prompting McCall to suggest the England Saxons youngster could even replace Ben Foden for the seniors, with the Northampton star switching positions.

“In the last six weeks Alex Goode has been as good as he’s been in the last two and a half years. He is back to his best,” said McCall, whose side need just one point from their final pool match at Treviso to ensure progress. “Whether Alex and Ben Foden can be accommodated in the back three I don’t know. Ben Foden has ability to play on the wing.”

Lancaster needs three wins to keep job, says Moody
FORMER England captain Lewis Moody believes interim head coach Stuart Lancaster will need three wins from the upcoming Six Nations to get the job permanently.

Lancaster, who last week shook up the squad by naming a much-changed 32 for the championship, has been handed the chance to impress following Martin Johnson’s resignation.

“He needs at least three wins,” said Moody, who retired from Test action following last year’s World Cup.

“He’s in a no-lose situation. If things go well he could get the job full-time; if not he’ll still be with the [second string] Saxons.”