Premiership round-up: Farrell guides Saracens stand-ins to thrilling fightback

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The Independent Online

Saracen's coach Mark McCall paid tribute to the youngsters in the side as the visitors came from 13-0 down to win 17-13 win at Bath in the Aviva Premiership yesterday.



Teenage fly-half Owen Farrell showed remarkable maturity in steering his side to victory with his tactical kicking, not to mention a penalty and conversions of tries by Kameli Ratouvu and James Short. Centre Sam Stanley also performed superbly after coming off the bench after just 20 minutes.

"I thought the two guys played wonderfully well," McCall said. "So did Jackson Wray at number eight, 19 years old as well. He's been playing outstandingly well for Bedford in the Championship and now looks like a Premiership player."

McCall went as far as rating it among the best results since the new coaching regime was installed at Saracens under Brendan Venter. "I think that's as pleasing a result, given the circumstances, as we have had in the 18 months we've been together," he said.

For Bath head coach Steve Meehan, it was "one that got away" after his side led 13-0 with an opportunist try by Nick Abendanon and a conversion and two penalties from Olly Barkley. Meehan said: "It's sometimes too easy to concentrate on the negatives. There were some real improvements in some of our play today. At various times when we had our attacking shape and structure correct, we were a real threat."

Gloucester's winning streak came to an end in pouring rain at Kingston Park yesterday, with Jimmy Gopperth kicking all of Newcastle's points in a 12-6 win and Freddie Burns responding twice for the visitors.

The Gloucester head coach, Bryan Redpath, said: "I think three dull penalties in the first half was the difference. We didn't kick the points at that time and potentially we should have."

"Credit to Newcastle. Micky Young kicked the ball, Jimmy Gopperth kicked the ball but there wasn't a lot of rugby in the conditions."

It marked just Newcastle's second success of the season and head coach Alan Tait was understandably delighted, even if he did have reservations about some of their play. He said: "I thought we were spot on in the first half but it all started to go wrong when we went for off the top ball at the line-out, but fortunately we got the result today."

The Exeter Chiefs coach, Rob Baxter, called his side's 15-9 victory over relegation-threatened Leeds Carnegie on Saturday as their "biggest win" of the season.

Ryan Davis claimed all Exeter's points with five penalties to three from Leeds' Ceiron Thomas as Chiefs handled the pressure of being favourites instead of underdogs.

"As I said to the players in the dressing room, this was our biggest win, without doubt," Baxter said. "The pressure that is on a team when you are expected to win, or when things are going well, is totally different."

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