Saracens boss Mark McCall was in sombre mood after yesterday’s Champions Cup semi-final match-up which saw his team crash out of the competition after a defeat to Racing 92 at Paris La Defense Arena.
Finn Russell’s magic saw the French outfit home 19-15 in a spectacle which produced much entertainment. It did, however, herald the end of Saracens’ Champions Cup hopes.
“In many ways it is the end of an era,” McCall said. “But we showed all the qualities and characteristics we need on a new journey.
“This has been an incredible period for us in the last five seasons.
“This was our 23rd knock-out game in either Europe or the Premiership and we’ve won 19 of those games, which is an incredible record.
“We put our heart and soul into that game and we can be proud of the players. They are a special group.”
It appears that long-time servant of the club, Brad Barritt, may have had his last run in the Saracens jersey. The 34 year old centre, as well as scrumhalf Richard Wigglesworth, is set to leave the club at the conclusion of the season. Barritt, however, left the field with a head injury and may not be fit to face Bath next weekend.
“This result is irrelevant around the legacy that Brad and Richard leave at the club. That was established a long time ago.
“They are two absolute legends who have contributed so much on and off the field.
“We play Bath in our final game next Sunday and we will spend the tail end of the week reflecting on their contributions and time at our club, and give them the send-off internally that they deserve.”
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Sarries and England hooker Jamie George reflected:
“The element of the unknown is pretty horrendous.
“The way we saw it was that it was our last chance to compete for a little while.
“We wanted to finish it off and I’m gutted, I’m not going to lie. But at the same time I’m also incredibly proud.
“A lot of people have talked rubbish about us for a long time. But if you look at the squad here probably our best player was Dom Morris, and if you’re telling me we’re breaking the salary cap that’s an interesting one.
“I don’t know what we’re going to be facing, but the young players coming through are hugely motivated and that is the exciting thing for me.
“This defeat is a tough one to take because we had control of the game.
“We felt comfortable defensively, but a bit of magic from Finn (Russell) and they got that try at the end.”