Far­rell is­sues ral­ly­ing cry for Sara­cens to end sea­son on a high

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Rugby Union - By Daniel Schofield DEPUTY RUGBY COR­RE­SPON­DENT at Al­lianz Park

Eng­land cap­tain Owen Far­rell has warned the rest of the Pre­mier­ship that Sara­cens have no in­ten­tion of hit­ting cruise con­trol be­fore their Cham­pi­ons Cup quar­ter-fi­nal against Le­in­ster.

The idea that Sara­cens have noth­ing to play for with their rel­e­ga­tion al­ready con­firmed is anath­ema to a hy­per-com­pet­i­tive in­di­vid­ual such as Far­rell. Cer­tainly, they rel­ished dent­ing the play-off am­bi­tions of Har­lequins on Satur­day. Quins only res­cued their re­spectabil­ity in the fi­nal quar­ter as re­place­ments, es­pe­cially cen­tre Paul Lasike for the vis­i­tors, al­tered the dy­namic of the match.

Even with­out brag­ging rights on the line be­fore their date against Le­in­ster in Dublin on Sept 19, Far­rell is adamant mo­ti­va­tion will not be a prob­lem for a group whose col­lec­tive pride is a pow­er­ful weapon.

“We are build­ing up,” Far­rell said. “We want to not only build up to that game [Le­in­ster] ev­ery­one says is our only com­pet­i­tive rugby that we are go­ing to play – but that is not the case. We want to en­joy our­selves by get­ting stuck in to­gether. There are a few lads that signed deals to fin­ish this year off and we want to make sure we do the end of this year prop­erly.”

Far­rell de­liv­ered 18 points with the boot in a com­mand­ing per­for­mance in his first game since March and his 200th ap­pear­ance for Sara­cens. Typ­i­cally un­sen­ti­men­tal, he seemed more pleased with the for­mer than he did the lat­ter.

“I have been here for a long, long time,” Far­rell said. “I prob­a­bly rocked up at the place be­fore my 14th birthday so that is a long time. It is bril­liant and the most ex­cit­ing thing was to get back out play­ing.”

Sara­cens seemed to have put the game to bed in the first half as Sean Mait­land, Maro Itoje and Aled Davies all crossed. Far­rell’s boot kept Sara­cens in front be­fore Alex Lew­ing­ton scored their fourth try to make the game safe with five min­utes re­main­ing.

While Far­rell, Billy Vu­nipola and es­pe­cially Itoje de­liv­ered big per­for­mances, just as sig­nif­i­cantly for the club’s long-term fu­ture were maiden league starts for El­liott Oba­toy­inbo and prop Sam Crean.

Mark McCall, Sara­cens’ di­rec­tor of rugby, was only partly sat­is­fied with the per­for­mance, even if they were miss­ing Mako Vu­nipola, Richard Wig­glesworth and El­liot Daly through in­jury. They have five more league fix­tures be­fore they face Le­in­ster and McCall said: “We are very far away from that [stan­dard] cur­rently. But I’m not sur­prised, it has been a long lay-off.”

In com­mand: Owen Far­rell kicked 18 points

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