Mark McCall says Saracens will not be underestimating the threat of London Irish on Saturday, admitting ‘they don’t feel like a team that’s just been promoted’ to the Premiership.

They may have lost 41-7 to Sale Sharks last weekend but the newly-promoted Exiles made an impressive start to the season by beating Wasps 29-26 on the opening weekend away from home.

For reigning champions Saracens, nothing but a win will do if they want to reinstate their position at the top of the Premiership table, McCall’s side having been edged out by Northampton Saints in Round 1 before beating Leicester Tigers last time out.

But McCall knows winning is far from a simple feat, and is calling on his younger players to make the most of the opportunity to impress in the absence of the club's World Cup stars. 

"Irish were fantastic in their first game against Wasps and Declan Kidney's a very smart and brilliant coach, who's been around a long time,” said McCall, speaking to BBC Radio London. 

"They've recruited brilliantly, and they don't feel like a team that's just been promoted, so it will be a real tough game for us.

"But hopefully we can build on that really good team performance against Leicester last weekend.

"This young group of players we've got at this time with the World Cup going on are getting the exposure and experience that hopefully they can build on."

Meanwhile, London Irish fly-half Stephen Myler is urging his teammates to right the wrongs of last weekend’s dismal defeat to Sale away at the reigning champions.

With Saracens still missing a host of players competing in the World Cup final, the odds look better for Irish, but Myler still believes it is one of the hardest tasks his side will face.

He said: "There aren't many tougher games we could face on paper, facing the champions away.

"It's a massive test for us, but one we need to be ready for and one we're preparing hard for. I know the boys will be ready on Saturday and we'll give it our best shot.

"It's a work in progress for us this season and we're going to take little knocks here and there, but it's how we respond to it.
"The coaches have been clear about how they feel we can improve and we're working hard to do that."

Saracens welcome back Scotland centre Duncan Taylor for his first league start in 19 months as one of their three changes to their side.

Rotimi Segun replaces Alex Lewington on the wing, while Callum Hunter-Hill starts at lock.