Owen Farrell leads Saracens back to Premiership with command performance

Owen Farrell led rampant Saracens back to the Premiership to bring an end to the worst chapter in the club’s history.

The England captain scored 18 points in the first leg of yesterday’s Championship Final and drove his side so hard that next Sunday’s second leg is no longer relevant.

“Owen made sure everybody was right at it,” said Mark McCall after his side’s eight-try win. “He was magnificent.

“You could see the way he led in the changing room before the game and at half-time. He’s been like that all week. He lives for these important matches. His game and leadership was exceptional.”

Saracens had admitted beforehand this was a final they could not afford to lose, literally, with Premiership status worth more than any trophy, be it domestic or European.

Maro Itoje scored the first of Saracens' eight tries
Maro Itoje scored the first of Saracens’ eight tries

It was reflected not only in their fully loaded line-up, containing five upcoming Lions, but the respect they paid Ealing from start to finish.

From the fifth minute, when Farrell got the scoreboard moving, to the last, when Sean Maitland bagged the eighth try, Sarries did not let up.

Five miles from the scene of England’s Euro 2020 triumph, Ealing’s ambition was suffocated; a team that topped the table scoring more than 500 points in 10 games completely snuffed out.

Farrell is scragged by Ealing opposite number Craig Willis
Farrell is scragged by Ealing opposite number Craig Willis

They did force two early penalty lineouts in the visitors’ 22 and Max Bodilly got behind the visitors’ defence with an impressive burst. But that was pretty much it.

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Thirty years after Ealing golfer Ricky Willison won the English Amateur Championship, a 1,600 crowd had hoped a new sporting chapter would be written in the borough.

That hope was quickly extinguished by Itoje powering over. By half-time Aled Davies and Jamie George had added tries and Saracens led 27-0.

Farrell is tackled short of the line
Farrell is tackled short of the line

Yet the three-time European champions would not let up. Billy Vunipola helped himself to two tries in the third quarter and as the clock ran down Ealing were opened up for three more.

The temptation will now be for McCall to give his Lions the weekend off and allow them to recharge ahead of the tour to South Africa.

But he is not prepared to say that, not now. Only that they will definitely not join Warren Gatland’s squad in Jersey for this week’s training camp.

Keeping a cool head: Saracens players turn to ice for comfort in steamy west London
Keeping a cool head: Saracens players turn to ice for comfort in steamy west London

“We’ve wanted and waited for this opportunity for so long,” he said. “We’ve still got to be Covid-free next week. God knows what would happen if we’re not.”

SARACENS – Tries: Itoje, Davies, George, B Vunipola 2, penalty, Tompkins, Maitland. Cons: Farrell 6. Pens: Farrell 2.



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