Irish coach McCall thrilled with Saracens’ convincing win over Munster

Murray Kinsella reports from Allianz Park

THERE WAS AT least one Irishman who enjoyed proceedings at Allianz Park this afternoon as Saracens swept Munster aside to reaffirm their status as Champions Cup contenders.

Mark McCall won 13 caps for Ireland as a player, before moving into the coaching world with the Ireland U21s and Ireland A. The Down man led Ulster to a Celtic League title in 2006, before eventually taking his skills to Saracens in 2009.

2011 saw McCall guide the club to a Premiership title in his role as director of rugby, since when they have emerged as one of Europe’s leading sides. If they can deliver more performances like today’s, they have every chance of winning silverware again this season.

“Probably not beforehand,” said McCall post-match when asked if Saracens had expected such dominance over Munster.

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“We know a performance like that is in us, and we talked during the week about delivering a big performance playing against a team who have a history of raising their game and raising their level for games like this.

The 33-10 victory over Anthony Foley’s side at Allianz Park moves Saracens back into contention to top Pool 1 and advance into the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup as pool winners.

The only thing that stands between them and that lofty position is a meeting with Clermont at Stade Marcel-Michelin next weekend.

Man of the match Vunipola delivered his best display of the season. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“I suppose we’re now in a position when we go to Clermont that if we win, we’ll win this pool,” said McCall. “So that’s what our intention is going to be.”

More immediately, the Ulsterman reflected on a highly satisfying performance from his charges against a poor Munster, with number eight Billy Vunipola leading the charge on numerous occasions.

McCall shared the praise among his squad, however, after they ran three tries past Munster.

“Billy was phenomenal today, a force of nature in attack and defence, everything,” said McCall.

“Across the board, we had some top performances.

“I think everybody knows we’ve stuttered a bit this year. It was great to have Brad Barritt produce 60 minutes like that, having not played a minute in two months. It’s amazing really, and when you get big personalities like that back you’re led brilliantly.”

Foley left frustrated and annoyed after Saracens dismantle Munster5 talking points after Munster crash out of Europe against Saracens