Premiership title just the start for Saracens – Owen Farrell

The England captain kicked 11 points as his side beat Sale 35-25 in the final at Twickenham.

Ed Elliot
Saturday 27 May 2023 19:17 BST
Owen Farrell celebrates Saracens’ Gallagher Premiership title (David Davies/PA)
Owen Farrell celebrates Saracens’ Gallagher Premiership title (David Davies/PA) (PA Wire)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Owen Farrell insists there is plenty more to come from Saracens after guiding the club to Gallagher Premiership glory with a 35-25 success over Sale at Twickenham.

Sarries’ 35-25 victory made amends for last season’s last-gasp final defeat by Leicester to deliver their first silverware since being relegated for salary cap breaches in 2020.

England skipper Farrell dismissed the notion of redemption for that painful loss to the Tigers as he outlined his optimism for the future.

Asked about the result in the context of Saracens’ recent setbacks, the fly-half said: “It feels important but I’m not too sure, if I’m honest.

“I think what’s more important is how we’ve been all season. The difference that we made at the start of the year, the difference in raising our ceiling of where we can go.

“And, at this moment in time, regardless of how today went, it still feels like there is a lot for this young team now still to go.

“There is a feeling of wanting to get the best out of ourselves and that will carry on for a long time now.”

Saracens defied a spirited Sale, mini injury crisis and climate activists to become champions for a sixth time.

Two Just Stop Oil protestors brought a halt to the game in the first half when they ran on to the pitch to throw orange paint powder before being led away by stewards amid jeers from the crowd.

A penalty try and scores from Max Malins, Elliot Daly and Ivan van Zyl helped the London side to victory in blazing sunshine, aided by 13 points from the boot of man of the match Farrell.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall believes his skipper is playing the “best rugby of his life” and has taken his leadership to “a whole new level”.

“If you spent a week at our training ground, you wouldn’t believe just how influential he is, how clear he is with the playing group, how emotive he is, what standards he sets, how supportive he is to team-mates young and old,” McCall said of Farrell.

“He’s playing the best rugby of his life at the moment but his leadership has gone to a whole new level.

“When the game was in the balance and it was 25-23 (to Sale) and we lacked a bit of energy, our senior players grasped the nettle really and saw us through very well in the last 15 or 20 minutes.

“We had a lot of control in that period of time and I think that’s down to their experience in those situations. They’ve been there and done it before and they showed a lot of experience when we needed it most.”

Sale stayed in the fight and pounced in a dominant third quarter to briefly lead thanks to tries from Tom Roebuck and Bevan Rodd before ultimately falling short.

Hooker Akker van der Merwe claimed the Sharks’ opening score during a first half in which Saracens lost Jamie George to a possible concussion and wing Sean Maitland to injury, having already seen prop Mako Vunipola withdrawn from the bench ahead of kick-off.

Sale director of rugby Alex Sanderson admits the loss was “crushing” but believes his underdogs will be back at Twickenham in the near future. 

“If I was to put it (the defeat) on anything, it’s difficult because there are a million moments that make a difference,” he said. 

“I’ve yet to go and pull them (the players) in and tell them to get used to this place. Just in the few conversations I’ve had, there’s a feeling that we’ll be here again. 

“The odd fairytale does happen but rarely from my experience. You’ve just got to be better at handling moments like the ones that occurred today and that takes experience.

“That’s what we’ll build on. We’ll just get better, we’re a young side for the most part.

“I’m sure after the crushing feeling I have right now of missed opportunity, the underlying emotion will be one of pride and excitement for what we can build on.”

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