Mark McCall hails Owen Farrell’s ‘incredible’ spirit after revealing injury scare before Saracens swansong

Saracens were narrowly beaten by Northampton to bring Farrell’s time at the club to an end

Harry Latham-Coyle
Saturday 01 June 2024 08:46 BST
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Owen Farrell waved goodbye to Saracens
Owen Farrell waved goodbye to Saracens (Getty Images)

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Saracens boss Mark McCall hailed the qualities of the departing Owen Farrell after revealing that an injury almost forced the fly half out of their semi-final defeat to Northampton Saints.

The visitors were narrowly beaten at Cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens as the Saints went marching on into the Premiership final.

Defeat marked the end of Farrell’s trophy-laden time at his boyhood club, with the playmaker saying an emotional farewell alongside Mako and Billy Vunipola.

The trio are bound for France after long, successful stints in North London under McCall, with Farrell part of six Premiership wins and securing three Champions Cup crowns.

The Vunipola brothers played their final games for Saracens
The Vunipola brothers played their final games for Saracens (Getty Images)

And the Saracens director of rugby was full of praise for the trio as he marked an end of an era at the club.

“We all feel very emotional about this being their last games,” McCall said. “They’ve been incredible for the club on and off the field.

“They’ve had some wonderful moments over the years, and some tough moments. The tough moments have made the good ones better. It’s been a hell of a journey this last ten to fifteen years.

“I just feel lucky to have come here when they were here. To watch them as 18, 19, 20 year olds – if you saw Mako on his first day at Saracens, you wouldn’t have thought he would go on three British and Irish Lions tours and win 60-odd caps for England. Same with Billy, really.

“It took Owen time as well. It didn’t happen immediately for him. To watch them develop as people over the period has been great to watch.”

Owen Farrell almost led Saracens to a comeback victory
Owen Farrell almost led Saracens to a comeback victory (Getty Images)

Elliot Daly kicked both from hand and tee for Saracens, knocking over two penalties and two conversions as the visitors threatened to steal it at the death.

Farrell managed to conjure a moment of magic to give his side hope, crafting a try with a lovely dummy and deft grubber kick for Alex Lewington.

But the 32-year-old was seldom able to use his right boot having been hampered by injury, sporting heavy strapping on his right thigh and almost forced to sit out what proved to be his Saracens swansong.

“He had a quad injury,” McCall explained. “There is a small tear in there so he was never going to kick. He wasn’t going to be kicking for touch or goal. We weren’t sure if he was going to play, to be honest.

Owen Farrell was forced to kick left footed with his right thigh strapped
Owen Farrell was forced to kick left footed with his right thigh strapped (Getty Images)

“It’s quite remarkable that he was on one leg, we had a fly half who couldn’t kick and we were still able to stay in the battle. It’s incredible for him in his final game at Saracens to do that for the team.”

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