'He sets the emotional tone for the team'- McCall on pivotal Saracens star
Elliot Daly could make his return from injury when Saracens tackle Gallagher Premiership rivals Exeter on Saturday.
The England back has not played since the British and Irish Lions’ second Test defeat against South Africa four months ago.
He underwent surgery on returning home to resolve a stress fracture.
But 29-year-old Daly, who has won 52 England caps, took part in Saracens’ warm-up ahead of their Premiership appointment with Sale Sharks last weekend.
And asked about the player’s fitness, Saracens rugby director Mark McCall said: “He is available for selection this weekend.”
It is a big boost for the Premiership title challengers, who currently lie second in the table, seven points and three places above Exeter.
Daly’s potential return comes with Saracens missing the services of injured England stars Owen Farrell and Jamie George.
But they will head to Sandy Park after losing one league game in eight starts this term, and their England international number eight Billy Vunipola in blistering form.
McCall added: “It is a series of games that Billy has put together.
“He has been playing 80 minutes for us every week, he is in great shape, he is playing really good rugby.
“He kind of sets the emotional tone for the team, and I’ve no doubt that he will be right at the heart of that again on Saturday afternoon.”
Saracens meet Exeter for the first time since September 2020, having returned to English rugby’s top flight this season after being relegated last year and fined more than £5million for persistent salary cap breaches.
Exeter lost the 2018 and 2019 Premiership finals to Saracens at Twickenham and were among the fiercest critics of Saracens’ behaviour.
Asked about motivation, McCall said: “I think we try to keep it on an even keel. We try not to hype things up too much.
“We want to be a really consistent team who don’t pick and choose when we get more motivated than when we don’t.
“There are obviously games certain individuals are going to really enjoy getting up for, and for some people that might be Exeter.
“Our motivation is very inward in lots of ways. We’ve got a really good group who care a lot about what they do and a lot about each other, and that has served us well down the years.”
Join free and tell us what you really think!Join Free