Mark McCall praised the return to play process following Saracens’ 30-27 derby day victory over Harlequins in the Gallagher Premiership. 

England players are due to have 10 weeks off after the summer tour to Australia but clubs can ask the RFU for permission to bring their stars back earlier with Bristol Bears’ Ellis Genge playing last week.

Saracens’ England contingent were permitted to play on Saturday with Maro Itoje, Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell starting at the Stoop, while Jamie George and Mako Vunipola came on as replacements. 

Controversially, Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith was not allowed to play despite playing fewer minutes than Billy Vunipola last season. 

But McCall believes the system in place is a good one, and that any decision made is taken with the player’s welfare in mind. 

He said: "We chose to start Maro, Billy and Owen and they were a big part of why we won.  

“Jamie's and Mako's experience coming off the bench at this kind of place is good, but it was a good team performance. 

"The process is simple really. There is a 10-week rule in place and you make an application.  

"The parties involved are the player - very importantly - the club, Eddie Jones, PRL and the RPA - I think it's a really good process, actually. 

"The decisions are taken in the best interests of the player and obviously we're delighted to have our players available." 

It was a nightmare start for Saracens, who found themselves 17-0 down after Cadan Murley scored two tries against the run of play in the opening ten minutes. 

But tries from Elliot Daly and Max Malins brought the visitors back into the game, before Joe Marchant’s opportunistic try right before half-time gave Quins a 24-12 lead at the break. 

McCall’s men made light work of the 12-point deficit, however, with Malins crossing for a second score and Nick Tompkins getting the bonus-point try. 

Daly’s long-range penalty with 15 minutes to go proved to be the decisive blow, though, with Saracens recording a fourth consecutive victory over their bitter rivals since returning to the Gallagher Premiership last season. 

It was a dream start to Saracens’ season, having had their bye week in round one, and last year’s runners-up can now turn their attention to Gloucester next Saturday as action returns to the StoneX Stadium.