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'Our players are getting more rugby than the Welsh, Scottish and Irish - they're hardly playing at all'

By PA

Trending on RugbyPass

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Saracens boss Mark McCall insists his British and Irish Lions contingent will be more battle-hardened for the tour to South Africa than many of their Celtic counterparts.

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The north London club flattened Greene King IPA Championship leaders Ealing 48-20 to climb to third in the table, placing their promotion quest in their own hands by overcoming the damage done by an opening-weekend defeat at Cornish Pirates.

If, as expected, they reach the end-of-season play-off against the same opposition, they will have six more games before the Lions stage their pre-tour warm-up against Japan at Murrayfield on June 26.

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Responding to concerns that stars such as Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Jamie George will be undercooked for the summer series against the Springboks, McCall insists they will have greater game time than rivals from the Guinness PRO14.

“Our players are getting more rugby than the Welsh, Scottish and Irish – they’re hardly playing at all. (Wales captain) Alun Wyn Jones didn’t play for the Ospreys on Saturday,” director of rugby McCall said.

“Fingers crossed we can finish our domestic season with a couple of really meaningful matches.

“There will be crowds by then too, so they’ll be the biggest matches we’ve played in this season.

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“These Championship games are physical. Ealing are a mid-table Premiership side in my opinion.

“I think our players won’t be undercooked in any way. Look at the Scottish, Irish and Welsh players and see if they’re undercooked.”

Two tries by Vincent Koch and touch downs from Alex Lewington, Aled Davies and Nick Tompkins inflicted a first defeat of the season on Ealing, who until Sunday’s clash at StoneX Stadium had secured a maximum 30 points from six outings.

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“That was an important win. It was a good performance. Physically we were good but there is a lot of stuff we can do better,” McCall said.

“Our rugby was inaccurate at times so there is plenty of stuff for us to get better at in the next five or six weeks.

“We have put it firmly back in our own hands. We have got four games left. We have an important game against Nottingham to finish this four-game period off and then we have a weekend off.

“We have to make sure we get our attitude right going up to Nottingham next weekend.”

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'Our players are getting more rugby than the Welsh, Scottish and Irish - they're hardly playing at all'

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