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Farrell helps ease McCall's nerves

DIRECTOR of rugby Mark McCall was frustrated after Saracens made hard work of beating Biarritz -- and missed their chance to secure a Heineken Cup quarter-final place one week early.

After Ben Spencer's try and three penalties from the boot of Owen Farrell had given Saracens a 14-6 half-time lead, McCall wanted his men to hammer home their advantage.

But Biarritz came back at them with Dimitri Yachvili scoring all their points, including a charge-down try, to set up a tight finish.

Farrell kept his cool to land the decisive penalty three minutes from time and Saracens' victory keeps them in control of Pool 5.

Biarritz's losing bonus point means the group will not be decided until next week -- but Saracens can reach the last eight with a single point in Treviso.

"We are pleased to have won the game," McCall said. "These kind of games are about getting the job done. There is a little frustration it wasn't more simple than it turned out.

"There were times when we were very dominant, and at 14-6 we had an opportunity to pull away and break them. We couldn't do that but the last 20 minutes characterised everything we are about as a club with the work ethic and discipline."

McCall was full of praise for his pack and three young England stars.

Farrell has attracted all the headlines of late but full-back Alex Goode enjoyed another outstanding game and Spencer caught the eye at scrum-half, before he was replaced on 56 minutes by Peter Stringer.

Goode was named in the Saxons party but will now be part of England's Six Nations squad after being called in to provide injury cover for Toby Flood.

Irish Independent