Mark McCall hailed Leinster as a “great” rugby team – then vowed Saracens would give them the game of their lives in the Champions Cup quarter-finals.
The already relegated Londoners stepped up their preparation for the September 19 showdown with a third straight Premiership win yesterday.
England duo Jamie George and Billy Vunipola claimed three of the six tries in a resounding 40-12 win at Twickenham Stoop to maintain Sarries’ six-year winning run against London Irish.
And McCall revealed that Owen Farrell and Mako Vunipola, the two missing pieces in the fallen champions' jigsaw, should be back from injury against Wasps on Saturday.
“We’re not quite where we need to be,” admitted the Ulsterman, who has four games left to prime his side for their European title defence.
“Leinster have won every match they’ve played since they lost the European final to us last May. They’ve got a great, great squad and obviously huge momentum.
“But if we get our best team on the park we’ll give them a run for their money, that’s for sure.
“We don’t quite have the depth we had in the past but if we can get there healthy we always stand a chance.”
McCall conceded that Leinster, who are coached by former England boss Stuart Lancaster, were “excellent” and “phenomenal” respectively in recent games against Munster and Ulster.
With their Premiership fate already sealed and half a dozen of their top players departed, Saracens have had a more disrupted time of it post lockdown.
But for a third consecutive game they put all distractions to one side to produce a winning performance. A raw Irish outfit, which has now lost six straight, had no answer.
The lineout drive was Saracens' weapon of choice, using it to plunder three of the four tries needed to pocket the bonus point inside 35 minutes.
George was on the end of two of them with Brad Barritt claiming the third. Billy Vunipola, hungry and forceful throughout, bagged the fourth from a quickly taken free kick. Richard Barrington claimed a second half brace.
Irish consolation came in the form of a debut try for former Argentina captain Agustin Creevy, whilst sevens legend Dan Norton made his second Premiership start – 12 years after his first.
IRISH – Tries: Creevy, Williams. Con: Atkins.
SARACENS – Tries: George 2, Barritt, B Vunipola, Barrington 2. Cons: M Vunipola 5.
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