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McCall backs his men to deliver


Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall believes his young squad can deliver once again in both the Premiership and Champions Cup this season.


The Allianz Park giants won both competitions last term, with their young English contingent starring before going on to triumph in Australia.

Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell, George Kruis and the Vunipola brothers all impressed and McCall is confident they can kick on in the coming year.

“We’ve got a pretty impressive young group and I couldn’t speak more highly of them,” he told Premiership Rugby at Thursday’s launch.

“After the Grand Slam last year – they are all 25 and under and are English internationals – to come back and perform the way they did for their club was incredible really.

“The age profile of our group is good, they are highly motivated and hopefully better things are ahead.

“They are unbelievably motivated, there is a Lions Tour and we said at the end of last season that for us it didn’t feel like the culmination of seven years, it felt like the start of something.”

Saracens’ most notable arrival ahead of this season is Springbok flanker Schalk Burger, who McCall says has been an instant hit at the club.

“We have grown as a club and we need to remember the underlying factors which have made us successful over the past couple of years,” he said.

“If we do stay true to those things, then hopefully we will give ourselves a chance.

“We haven’t had too many changes, we have only had three or four new players.

“Schalk Burger has essentially taken the place of two players – Ernst Joubert and Jacques Burger – we thought it was important that we brought in a very experienced player and Schalk has made a great impression over the first couple of weeks.”