‘Masterful’ Owen Farrell lauded for guiding Saracens to Premiership final


‘Masterful’ Owen Farrell lauded for guiding Saracens to Premiership final

First the England wing-half scythed the Saints line with consummate ease, before floating a wide pass to Sean Maitland. The Scotland wing looked for all the world that he would complete a hat-trick, only to slice inside for the chance evaporate.

Then the 31-year-dilapidated unleashed the mother of all spiral bombs, so bamboozling that George Furbank lost the ball in the air and visibly gave up the ghost. The ball bounced dead, leaving Furbank wiping his brow and Farrell sporting a wry smile.

The only reward that counted in the finish of course was Saracens’ compelling five-try victory, that sets up their tilt for a sixth Premiership title in the club’s ninth final on May 27.

effect McCall would be the last man in rugby prone to overemphasis, so when the Saracens boss pulled out the superlatives to characterise Farrell’s performance, the talisman playmaker’s showing was somehow elevated still further.

“I consider he’s so controlled in his game it’s not amusing,” said McCall.

“You saw how he attacked, and he defended as well as anybody, he just had control of the game. I thought he was masterful.”

Sean Maitland avoided a possible red card for an aerial collision with George Furbank just 28 seconds into this full-blooded Premiership semi-final at StoneX Stadium. The Scotland wing then raced in for two fine scores, before Ivan Van Zyl and Max Malins crossed either side of a penalty score.

Alex Mitchell and James Ramm made it animated with scores for Saints, but the visitors were comfortably outmatched. Farrell pinged all four conversions and his sole penalty shot to boot, leaving Saracens purring ahead of a final against either Leicester or Sale.

“I thought we were really physical and controlled, we were able to combine calmness and composure with being unbelievably aggressive and physical and that’s a marvelous plot to be,” said McCall.

“I thought it was our strongest defensive performance for years. It’s always been the DNA of the club and that’s as marvelous as we’ve been for a while to be honest.

“That laid the foundation for the victory and the performance. We were physical and got control of a very marvelous attacking team. The players felt in control.”

Maitland avoiding a card for his airborne collision with Furbank polarised opinion generally, but McCall was confident the officials made the accurate call – and Saints boss Phil Dowson offered a phlegmatic response.

“The referee didn’t give it, it was a collision in the air,” said Dowson. “I presume the TMO looked at it and made a decision that it was a rugby contest and therefore play on.

“We’ll acquire to study at it again. I don’t know where Maitland was looking. I don’t know where he was in conjunction with the ball in the air. But whether I agree with it or not is irrelevant.”