McCall: Brits fine after knock
September 18, 2011
Saracens locks Steve Borthwick drives forward during Sunday's game in Watford © Getty Images
Saracens rugby director Mark McCall was relieved to confirm that the injury suffered by hooker Schalk Brits in Sunday's 18-6 win over Worcester Warriors was not serious.
Brits was forced off just five minutes into the second half at Vicarage Road after collapsing to the turf following a heavy collision. However, McCall was able to reveal afterwards that the South African was fine.
"He has a stiff neck, but he's up and about," he said. "We are pleased that he's recovered quickly."
As for the game, McCall admitted that Sarries had found it difficult to break down a resolute Worcester defence before eventually putting the game to bed with two tries in the space of nine minutes at the tail end of the third quarter through David Strettle and Brad Barritt.
"It's frustrating because Worcester came down here to scrap and fight and credit to them," the former Ulster boss said. "But they had 14 men in defence with one behind, and while we played some good rugby during the first half, we found them very difficult to break down."
McCall also reserved special praise for summer signing Charlie Hodgson, who, after being restricted to the role of understudy to Owen Farrell for the first two games of the season, was finally given his chance to shine.
"I thought Charlie Hodgson did very well on his first start, especially when you consider that he had no pre-season with us," McCall said. "It takes a little while for a new player to get used to a team's style and Charlie is settling in very quickly."
Meanwhile, Worcester boss Richard Hill was annoyed by the award of Barritt's try, believing that the Sarries centre had not managed to get the ball over the whitewash, but he was proud of his side's display nonetheless.
"That was our best performance of the season so far, more physicality and commitment, and clearly the benchmark for the rest of the season." he said. "We did not perform the way you need to in the Premiership at Gloucester last week but this was a big improvement.
"We are disappointed with the decision to award Saracens their second try because it wasn't a try. The players are hugely disappointed because they felt Barritt hadn't made the line and wanted the referee to at least consult the television match official. But you play to the whistle and you get on with it.
"But for that we could have taken home a losing bonus point. But I was very pleased with our defence, and had we just managed the final pass on occasions we could have put more points on the board.
"If you don't look like scoring then you become concerned. But we are creating chances and you know that sooner rather than later you will begin taking them.
"I am pleased with the work-rate. But we are conceding too many penalties. When you are away from home, particularly at the big clubs, you have to be whiter than white because home crowds get onto officials quickly at the slightest offence that they spot."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
In the wake of another perfect November series, Monday Maul talks to NZRU CEO Steve Tew about the constant demand for perfection
The latest Week in Pictures takes in all the action from the weekend when rugby united behind Samoa
The Wallabies showed flair in Dublin, but they still have a way to go if they are to do more than make up the numbers at the World Cup, writes Greg Growden
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton