Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall praised the togetherness of his young team as the relegated Gallagher Premiership side overcame their off-the-field issues to beat Sale 36-22.

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Tries by Rhys Carre, Rotimi Segun, Nick Isiekwe and Richard Barrington helped McCall’s men overcome their visitors to make it 13 consecutive home wins against the Sharks.

The Manchester side crossed the line through Byron McGuigan, Dan du Preez and Rob du Preez, but missed the chance to gain ground in the top-four race.

“We’re chuffed with the way we played, and the unity and togetherness that we showed,” McCall said. “It was difficult conditions and Sale chose to play with the wind in the first half.

“We needed to roll our sleeves up and we did that. Our half-backs were fantastic in the first half, Tom Whiteley, in particular, the way he kicked into that breeze.

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“We were good value at 14-3, but they got a good try. One mistake by one person and it’s 14-10. I thought the response to that in the second half was great.”

McCall noted another eye-catching performance from fly-half Manu Vunipola, who kicked 13 points in blustery conditions to put the match past Sharks.

He added: “It’s been a good year for Manu. He’s one of the ones who’s got exposed more than I thought he would be, and he’s done really well.

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“This is our seventh win out of our ten Premiership matches. Most of those wins have been with this group and they have done great. These are important experiences for them going forward.”

Despite the victory, McCall felt his players could improve ahead of facing Wasps next Friday after conceding two late tries against Sharks. “When we committed to what we said we were going to commit to, we were great,” the director of rugby added.

“When we were off the boil a little bit and our intensity dropped, then you got what you got in the last 10 minutes. That’s maybe an important lesson for us.”

Sale lost the opportunity to move up the Premiership table but stayed third as other results went their way. Director of rugby Steve Diamond refused to blame the weather for Sale’s performance in London.

He said: “We come from Manchester, it pours it down every day. We trained with the wind all week, but it was just a bit more experience in their team to put us to the sword in that first half.

“Fair play to Saracens, their strength of depth runs deep. Players come in and stay in structure and they did that really well. We have been playing well over the past six weeks, we just didn’t play (today), we didn’t get past one phase. I’m a little bit disappointed with that.”

– Press Association

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