McCall says Premiership final loss fuelling Saracens' title bid

·2-min read
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall

Mark McCall says the pain of last season's agonising Premiership final loss is inspiring Saracens as they look to return to the Twickenham showpiece.

If Saracens defeat play-off semi-final opponents Northampton on Saturday they will qualify for a ninth appearance in English rugby union's title-deciding match, which will take place on May 27.

Saracens' hopes of being crowned champions of England last year were scuppered by Freddie Burns's stunning late drop-goal that secured a 15-12 win for Leicester.

"I guess it wasn't so much losing the final, it was how we lost it, which is the thing that is driving us, I think," Saracens rugby director McCall said Tuesday.

"It felt like we played within ourselves. It was how we lost, not because we lost.

"Anyone can lose a final -- knockout games are hard to win -- but when you don't feel that you have given it a proper go, then you carry that all summer. I guess that has driven this season to a degree."

Saracens topped the regular season table, finishing 16 points clear of Northampton.

But Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell, the England captain, said the club did not need to lift a trophy to underline their Premiership return three years after relegation following persistent salary cap breaches.

"To come back and do it (win the title) within a year, we talked about it being special, and we didn't do it," said Farrell.

"We are on another year now and I have not thought about it in that way too much if I am honest. We've been consistent enough over the past two years, without winning last year, to validate us being back in the Premiership.

"We want to be at our best, getting the best out of ourselves, and I am sure Northampton are the same."