Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall is hoping his side can improve on their nervy 30-26 home victory over Edinburgh Rugby in Round 1 of the Heineken Champions Cup for what he labelled “a huge game” at Lyon on Saturday.
The three-time winners of EPCR’s leading competition ended up with a try bonus point against their Scottish opponents, but McCall acknowledged that his team were made to work hard for their victory at the StoneX Stadium.
“We’re happy to come away with a win and obviously with a winning bonus point as well,” McCall said.
“We weren’t at our best, far from it. Maybe that wasn’t a big surprise, having not been together for the last six weeks, and hopefully we can be better than this.
“We couldn’t really get any rhythm in our attack and a lot of that was down to how well Edinburgh defended, especially at the breakdown.
“We couldn’t get quick balls off and we’ll have to look at that for next week, but some magic moments from some magic players got us over the line.
“I’m just proud of the way the team stuck at it. We were second best in quite a few things, but we hung in there.”
Kicking 🤝 @elliotdaly
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The Northern Irishman, who has guided Saracens to all three of their Heineken Champions Cup titles, knows that a home defeat would have been unthinkable.
“This is a very unforgiving competition and you can’t afford to lose your first game, especially at home,” he emphasised.
“We’ve got a huge game away at Lyon next week, who have been very good at home.”
Sarries captain Owen Farrell was less forgiving of the Gallagher Premiership leaders’ performance and felt they were well below par.
“Edinburgh are obviously a great side and really challenged us, especially around the breakdown, but especially that first half it just didn’t feel like us,” he said.
“I know we’re just coming back together [from international duty] and we don’t want to take a bonus-point victory for granted, definitely not, but we’ve got a long way to go especially after that performance.”