He said: “It was reckless but there was no intent and I think the TMO got it correct. It was frustrating as their player was clearly on the wrong side of the ruck.” Following White’s departure, Saracens added a third try on the stroke of half-time through Schalk Brits to open up a 18-6 lead at the break. The Aviva Premiership leaders then ran away with it in the second period, outscoring their opponents 46-0. Lam said of his side’s showing: “We know they are a top Premiership side but we were very disappointing as we missed tackles and dropped passes.” Those sentiments were echoed by Connacht full-back Gavin Duffy, who said: “I thought these days were behind us but today we were pulled round and bullied. The scoreboard doesn’t lie and it was a really poor day for us.” Saracens now face a difficult away trip in the quarter-finals but McCall was still optimistic. “We are not a top two or three European side but we are a top eight team. We can step up and learn from defeats at Clermont and Toulouse and can win away,” said McCall, who also allayed any fears about Owen Farrell. The England fly-half lasted only eight minutes as a second-half replacement for Charlie Hodgson before leaving the field but McCall said: “He had a nasty cut to the side of the head but he will be okay.” McCall said: “There were some outstanding individual performances, Alex has been very good over the past two months but today he was unbelievable as he looks much quicker. “Strettle is playing as well as ever and Ashton’s finish for his first try was something special.” McCall was also pleased with his side’s overall performance at Allianz Park, which he said “has been coming for some time”. It might have been an even more convincing victory for the hosts had Connacht prop Nathan White been sent off in the first half, as McCall believes should have happened. With Saracens only leading 13-6 just before half-time, White was sent to the sin-bin for stamping on Brad Barritt. White appeared to make contact with Barritt’s face and McCall was in no doubt that the front-rower should have been dismissed. “I’m glad they remained with 15 players but it was a red card as it was exactly the same as last night (Ian Evans being dismissed for the Ospreys in Dublin). Fortunately Brad wasn’t injured but that shouldn’t be a determining factor,” said McCall. Connacht coach Pat Lam disagreed with McCall’s assessment of the incident, though. Sarries ran in 11 tries in the victory with David Strettle notching a hat-trick and Chris Ashton adding another two as McCall’s men qualified as one of the best two runners-up having finished behind Toulouse in Group Three. It was an impressive all-round showing from Saracens but Goode was the star of the piece with a display that McCall acknowledged was something else. Press Association Saracens head coach Mark McCall heaped glowing praise on his side after seeing them thrash Connacht 64-6 to seal their spot in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, while describing full-back Alex Goode’s performance as “unbelievable”.
Victor Anichebe has revealed he will put himself through a personal boot camp to revive his season. The West Brom striker is ready for a fitness drive during the international break after his injury struggles. He had a hernia operation in September and made his first Barclays Premier League start since August in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Newcastle. Anichebe has scored once in eight appearances this term and is desperate to prove his worth at The Hawthorns. “For me it’s very difficult,” said the 26-year-old. “I had niggling injuries here and there and I have just come back from hernia surgery and I had some complications. That’s not an excuse or anything, it’s just normal. “I feel a lot better and hopefully, given the break we’ve got, I can go away, get myself right and come back and help the team.” Press Association The Baggies next go to Chelsea on November 22 and Anichebe is planning to return fighting fit. He said: “For me, over the international break, I need to go away, come back and be as fit as possible. I don’t feel as sharp and fit as I was at the start of the season but that will come. “I came back about a month or six weeks ago from hernia surgery, something which reoccurred after I did it a couple of years ago. “I need to go away, come back and take care of my own body and be fitter than I have been recently. “I have the medical team here, they have helped me a lot and I have guys in America I have worked with a lot. Between the two we have come up with a fitness regime which will help me to get to where I should be. “I will go away and I will do parts to try to get myself ready but I’ll also be with the team. We just need to come back after the international break and be ready for the difficult fixtures ahead of us.” The former Everton starlet has only netted four goals for Albion since his £6million move from the Toffees in September last year. He has also made just 16 starts for the Baggies in over 12-months after struggling with a series of minor injuries.
It was bad news for the players, board and fans of Athletic Bilbao when defender Yeray Alvarez was diagnosed with testicular cancer in December. Alvarez amazingly returned to action in February and was named in Spain’s squad for the U21 European Championships, just 46 days after surgery to remove the affected testicle. However, in June, Alvarez suffered a setback when it was discovered during a routine checkup that the disease had returned, robbing him of the chance to play at the U21 European Championship. In July, Alvarez was shown love and support from his Athletic Bilbao teammates as they all shaved their heads while he was undergoing chemotherapy. “We want him to feel as comfortable as possible here and we did this not only for Yeray but for all families that suffer from this disease.” said midfielder Oscar de Marcos.Alvarez also took to Instagram to thank the players and fans for their support, saying he would return stronger.”When it seemed like it had knocked me down, I got up and fought back,” the defender wrote. “Don’t worry, I’m going to win this fight. With all the people that support me, if it comes back to knock me down again, I will come back a thousand and one times.”Yes, he won the fight. Athletic Bilbao have confirmed that Alvarez’s treatment was successful. It is only a matter of time before the 22-year-old returns to action. RelatedCanelo Alvarez calls Floyd Mayweather a disgrace to BoxingDecember 13, 2018In “Boxing”Transfer: Athletic Bilbao Sign Inigo Martinez To Replace LaporteJanuary 30, 2018In “Europe”Former Barcelona Midfielder To Be Punished For Drug Trafficking In MexicoAugust 10, 2017In “Europe”