Director of rugby Mark McCall praised his senior stars for steering 14-man Saracens to a crucial 22-15 victory at Ospreys in the Heineken Champions Cup.

Prop Rhys Carre was red-carded in the fifth minute by referee Alexandre Ruiz for a no-arms tackle to full-back Dan Evans’ head or neck area.

Saracens were then briefly down to 13 players after Calum Clark was sin-binned for putting his hands in the ruck.

But Sarries came out on top courtesy of 17 points from young fly-half Manu Vunipola and a second-half Alex Lewington try, keeping their hopes alive of reaching the last-eight.

“We were down to 14 men for virtually the whole match and the way the players problem solved all the way through the game was outstanding,” McCall said.

“Our senior players – Jackson Wray, Richard Wigglesworth, George Kruis – were magnificent out there in coming up with the right answers to solve the problems.

“And our younger players listened to what they said and got stuck in and displayed an incredible amount of energy. It was a great energy.”

McCall was happy to single out veteran scrum-half Wigglesworth for praise following his impressive display that included a box-kick assist for Lewington’s try on 50 minutes.

“He was amazing,” McCall said. “He’s 36 years old and in situations like that you need to have somebody with that kind of experience to play the game at the pace you need to play at with 14 men.

“The players stuck at it. The forwards delivered massively, particularly in the second half, and got the job done.

“The thing we talked about the moment the (salary cap) decision was made early in November was that we wanted, as a staff and as a group of players, to show unity all the way through when we had a chance to play and show togetherness.

“This was all about togetherness and listening to the senior players and doing it for each other. The performance spoke volumes.”

After being on the receiving end of Carre’s early red-card tackle Evans scored two tries to give Ospreys a 15-12 lead before Sarries came storming back.

When asked about Ruiz’s decision to send off Carre, McCall added: “I haven’t had a really close look at it.

“If the referee said it was a head contact, you are going to face the consequences, but I haven’t seen it closely enough.”