Quiet and calm Mark McCall provides the backbone for sustained Saracens success | Gerard Meagher

With a second successive Champions Cup win in the bag, and two wins from a third consecutive Premiership title, those who know him best reveal Mark McCall’s role in Sarries’ remarkable rise

When Mark McCall agreed to join Saracens in 2009, Brendan Venter had a word of advice for his new first?team coach. “Smally, you’re going to have to buckle up because it’s going be a hell of ride,” he said. The rest of the conversation is harder to recollect for Venter, who chuckles as he recalls the killer line, but Edward Griffiths, chief executive at the time, remembers well his first encounter with McCall, in a cafe in St Albans. The three of them – Venter, McCall and Griffiths – the three pillars of Saracens success, setting the wheels in motion towards becoming back-to-back European champions.

“Brendan came in and we were looking at ways of running the club, a whole new culture. He wanted somebody he could emphatically trust,” says Griffiths. “When we appointed Mark as an assistant to Brendan in 2009, we knew we were appointing someone who would be equipped to take over when Brendan left [as director of rugby in 2011].”

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