The boys showed a lot of heart - Hunter-Hill
Callum Hunter-Hill says the effort of the Saracens squad was first class in their narrow defeat to Sale Sharks.
The Men in Black found themselves 21-7 down at half-time but conceded just three points in the second half, scoring a last-gasp converted try to earn a losing bonus at the AJ Bell Stadium.
A young Sarries group came up against a physical home outfit and didn’t give up the contest until the very last whistle despite the opportunity to win failing away in the dying embers.
"I can’t fault any of the effort from one to 23. The boys showed a lot of heart out there.”
“If you look at the sideline, we’re not going to win the game as we were still seven points down at the end but when we scored that try everyone was absolutely buzzing,” Hunter-Hill said.
“There were a couple of hits towards the end – Dom making that hit at the end, (Cameron) Boony coming on and making some big carries, guys like Janco (Venter) ripping up on his second game… I can’t fault any of the effort from one to 23 but we can be winning those games and that’s the exciting thing.”
Sale were on top in the first 40 scoring first before adding two more tries following Rotimi Segun’s response.
But the second period proved a different story with Saracens much the better side and their resilience and effort paid dividends with another Segun score.
Hunter-Hill puts the increased intensity and dominance down to two main improvements after the interval.
“The two main things we fixed up were our set piece and then our first phase defence,” he said.
“We asked for a valiant effort, for the boys to dig in and we wanted a bit of a scrap and show up all those words and think we did that really, really well.
“They put a lot of pressure on our set piece and fair play to them. They’ve got a big, physical pack and are good technically. When we tweaked that a little bit and sorted that then it gave us a bit more front-foot ball and more opportunities to play.
“Our defence was good as well; we were scrambling back so well and hard and that’s down to our work rate, our want to get back, our want to hit people. If we sort out our first phase then we’re not going to have to be scrambling back. Those are the two main things we fixed up – our set piece and then our first phase defence.
“It was a young squad out there compared to a big meaty Sale squad. We gave away a few soft tries that set us back but if we’re able to fix those issues we’re right in the mix. The boys showed a lot of heart out there.”