/ Heineken Cup 2013-14

/ Reaction

Saracens 46-6 Clermont Auvergne
McCall hails 'inspirational' Burger
Tom Hamilton at Twickenham
April 26, 2014
Sitiveni Sivivatu finds the way blocked against Saracens © Getty Images

Saracens boss Mark McCall hailed Jacques Burger's performance in the wake of their resounding 46-6 win over Clermont on Saturday.

Saracens are now in their first Heineken Cup final following a victory which saw them score six tries with Burger making an incredible 27 tackles. "Jacques' story is incredible," McCall said. "He missed 18 months through injury and this time last year when he came back he did not look right and it looked like it could be over for him.

"People don't know what he does every day. He has a thing called a 'Game Ready' which ices his knee for five hours a day. It's an incredible sacrifice for him. He was inspirational today and you know with Jacques you will get everything he has for the team."

Burger with a performance to relish

  • It was a remarkable victory built on Saracens' defence with Jacques Burger putting in a performance for the ages. The superb Saracens openside made 27 tackles, turned over the ball at will and generally caused a sense of panic in Clermont's ranks. If ever there was an apt recipient for Man of the Match, it was Burger.
  • Saracens are now through to their first Heineken Cup final and after years of making noise off the pitch, they are chasing two trophies to add to their Aviva Premiership triumph back in 2011. For Saracens, the manner in which they made Clermont look ordinary is testament to the club as a whole. Off the field marketing, gimmicks can only go so far, you need the team to deliver and that it did at Twickenham on Saturday.
  • Read the full verdict here.

McCall was also full of praise for Chris Ashton who grabbed a brace of tries. "We are all thrilled for Ashy. He comes in for a lot of unnecessary criticism and he does not get the praise he deserves. His finish was Ulster was magnificent, world class and today I thought he had a sensational game."

McCall said post-match he did not really want to talk about the controversial penalty try which Nigel Owens gave in the first-half but instead looked to the positives of Saracens' performance. "I thought it was a phenomenal performance and I'm proud of the effort and work rate. The plan was to put them under pressure and I think we achieved that.

"Today was one of those days where everything went right. Today is a tremendous memory for us but it is the vehicle for something hopefully bigger and better towards the end of May."

Saracens are now fighting on two fronts as they are in the final of the Heineken Cup and have booked their place in the semi-finals of the Premiership. A rare double is in their sights but McCall emphasised the need for focus.

"We got beaten in two semi-finals last season and there was real disappointment. We didn't think we made a good account of ourselves but today we did. We want to do as well as we can in the Premiership and we will manage the squad as well as we can over the next couple of weeks. As we did well in the early part of the season we have the comfort to do be able to that."

For Clermont boss Vern Cotter, he will now turn his attention to the Top 14 as he looks to finish his time at the club with some silverware. "I thought the score was a little heavy, but we were soundly beaten," Cotter said. "Things didn't really go for us during the game but I'm not taking anything away from Saracens. We are disappointed but we have a big game next week and we will shift our attention to that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton is the Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.

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