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'Francois is Hollywood, isn't he': Saracens boss Mark McCall heaps praise on former Springbok

(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Saracens boss Mark McCall saluted his players’ approach to the closing stages of a dramatic Gallagher Premiership clash against Bristol that ended in a 20-19 victory at StoneX Stadium.


Substitute Francois Hougaard struck with the clock almost three minutes in the red, rounding off a spell of relentless pressure that broke a resilient Bristol after the visitors had led by nine points with time running out.

“The most pleasing thing was we fought and scrapped for one another, both those guys who have been here a long time and those who have joined recently,” McCall said.

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“To get a win like this with so many players away on international duty and some injured is excellent.

“It was a nine-point game, and anything can happen. We could have kicked for the posts and got a losing bonus point, but we didn’t do that.

“We kicked to touch and got the try. It tells you something about the mentality of the players.

“We are finding a way to win, and that is a good quality to have.”


It was Saracens’ 12th Premiership win of the season, but Bristol remain rooted at the basement, having lost eight from their last 10 league games.

The visitors appeared home and dry, yet wing Rotimi Segun followed up hooker Theo Dan’s earlier try with Saracens’ second touchdown, before Hougaard struck, while full-back Alex Goode kicked a penalty and conversion

McCall added: “Francois is Hollywood, isn’t he! I’m not surprised.

“I have been incredibly impressed with the fact he has 40-odd caps for South Africa, but he hasn’t got close to our team since he’s been here and he has not complained.


“He has been unbelievable in training, taking younger players for extra sessions, and he deserved to get his opportunity. I am so pleased for him.”

Hooker Harry Thacker and wing Gabriel Ibitoye touched down for Bristol, with centre James Williams kicking two penalties and fly-half AJ MacGinty one.

“We should have defended a nine-point lead. It was pretty naive,” Bristol rugby director Pat Lam told the club’s official website.

“There were some poor decisions on defensive reads, and we are pretty disappointed with that.

“At 19-10 up, we should have brought that game home. We are pretty gutted, and we have only got ourselves to blame.”


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