Monday 19 March 2018

McCall keen to avoid meeting Connacht in Cup defence

Mark McCall. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Mark McCall. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

John Fallon

Saracens' Champions Cup-winning coach Mark McCall believes Connacht have been one of the stories of the year.

And the former Irish centre, who masterminded Saracens' 21-9 win over Racing 92 in Lyon last weekend, has paid Pat Lam's men the highest compliment by stating that no team will want to meet them in the Champions Cup next season.

"Of all the Irish provinces, Connacht are the team that nobody wants to get in their group next year.

"What a success story that has been, and Pat Lam deserves so much credit for achieving what he has achieved," said McCall.

But McCall still believes that it is his native Ulster who will finish the season with silverware by pushing on and winning the Pro12 crown.

Saracens beat Ulster home and away in the pool stage on their way to winning the title, but McCall, joint captain when Ulster won the Heineken Cup in 1999, reckons they are stronger now.

'I think we got Ulster at a decent time because a couple of their really big players were coming back from injury or were not quite back from injury.

"Iain Henderson hadn't played, and Rory Best, Tommy Bowe weren't playing at that stage, Andrew Trimble as well.

"So I think that Ulster, are looking really good to me. I will be surprised if they don't win the Pro12 this year," added McCall.

Irish Independent

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