Owen Farrell: Joe Shaw hails Saracens playmaker after superb performance against Exeter Chiefs

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Owen Farrell was hailed as a once-in-a-generation player after he delivered a superb performance in Saracens’ 35-3 victory over Exeter Chiefs in Saturday’s clash at StoneX Stadium.

Despite atrocious conditions, Farrell shone throughout and was deservedly named man of the match, with the highlight being a cheeky no-look, reverse, miss pass to Alex Lewington, who crossed for Sarries’ bonus-point try in the 72nd minute.

Timely reminder for Steve Borthwick

Farrell’s performance comes as new England head coach Steve Borthwick weighs up his fly-half options ahead of their Six Nations opener against Scotland at Twickenham on February 4, with Marcus Smith also in contention for the position.

“Trying to lead a team in those conditions is tough. It is where you see the ultimate game managers and leaders, and Owen is still at the very forefront of that,” Saracens head coach Joe Shaw said.

“When you look at the whole of this season, and you see some of the performances we have put in and the tries we have scored, the person who has been at the centre of that is Owen, showing off his skillset.

“His kicks into space put Exeter under pressure, and he backed it up with how physical he was in defence. I thought he was superb.

“If you know anything about rugby you realise what an unbelievable and special talent we have had for this generation.

“He has just turned 31; he has got 100 caps for England, been on three Lions tours, won everything domestically and captained his country. He is absolutely fantastic.”

When asked about Farrell’s outrageous offload to Lewington in the last 10 minutes, Shaw said: “Owen has got that in his skillset.

“He would have known Alex Lewington was out there and when you practice and practice….people think it’s luck but it’s not.”

Exeter are still in sixth position on the Premiership table, and head coach Ali Hepher said they need some victories at Sandy Park in the coming weeks if they are to challenge for the title.

Injury and a bug which swept through the club meant the Chiefs fielded a weakened side, but Hepher remained optimistic over what the future holds.

“We’ve been here against Saracens in the past, lost heavily but also learned the lessons and come back stronger,” he said.

“You have to give Saracens credit for their performance – the speed that they played at, the speed that they countered at.

“Even when they make errors, they don’t get seen because they’re doing things so fast. They were too fast for us.

“We are where we are – a mid-table side. We have a run of home games now that are very important. We’ll target those games and try to put our stamp on the season.

“What makes or breaks our season won’t be what we’ve done here but what we do over the next four or five matches.

Rebuilding phase

“We’re clearly on a rebuild. We’ve lost players because we haven’t been able to retain them within the salary cap.

“We have to reboot and regenerate. We’re below where we were but we’re on the move back to that spot. It won’t happen overnight but it’s exciting.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Owen Farrell stars as Saracens thump Exeter while Bath and Gloucester also claim wins

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