Owen Farrell played on 'one leg' during Saracens farewell against Northampton, reveals Mark McCall

Owen Farrell has played his final game for Saracens (Getty Images)
Owen Farrell has played his final game for Saracens (Getty Images)

Owen Farrell battled through his final Saracens match “on one leg” and still almost steered the Men In Black to another Premiership final.

Mark McCall revealed Farrell suffered a minor quadriceps tear in training on Monday, and was even a doubt to play against Northampton in the warm-up on Friday night.

Former England captain Farrell could not kick off his right foot in the Premiership semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens, but still produced a classic performance.

Northampton edged out Saracens 22-20 in the end, to book their place in a first Premiership final for 10 years. Farrell had a hand in both of Saracens’ tries, for Alex Lewington and Lucio Cinti, despite being clearly hampered by his leg injury.

The 32-year-old’s Saracens career is now at an end in defeat though, after 16 years in the Men In Black’s first team. Farrell will join Racing 92 in Paris this summer, and will leave Saracens as perhaps the club’s greatest ever player.

“Owen was hindered a lot to be honest,” said rugby director McCall.

“He had a quad injury on Monday. There’s a small tear in there, so he was never going to kick at all. He kicked twice on his right foot but he didn’t want to.

Owen Farrell could not quite drag Saracens into the Premiership final (Getty Images)
Owen Farrell could not quite drag Saracens into the Premiership final (Getty Images)

“We weren’t sure he was going to play to be honest, we had to see if he could get through the warm-up. It’s quite remarkable that he was on one leg and we’ve got a fly-half who can’t kick, which is probably going to affect your kicking game, but we were able to stay in the battle. It’s incredible from him in his last game to do that for the team.”

Farrell earned 112 England caps across a remarkable Test career, on top of a key role in Saracens’ six Premiership titles and three European Cup triumphs.

McCall admitted he was struggling to do justice to Farrell’s Saracens influence, with brothers Billy and Mako Vunipola also now heading to France.

“It’s hard to sum it up to be honest,” said McCall.

“We all feel very emotional about this being his last game, Mako and Billy’s last games, and Alex Lewington as well. They’ve been incredible, on and off the field, they’ve made friends for life.

“They’ve had good moments and tough moments, and the tough moments have made the good moments even better. They can look back at their time, it’s been a hell of a journey, these last 10, 15 years.

“We’ve already said a proper thankyou to the people who aren’t going to be here next year. I feel personally lucky to come here while they were here.

“If you’d seen Mako on his first day at Saracens when he was 20 you wouldn’t have thought he would have three British Lions tours and 60-odd caps for England, the same as Billy really.

“Everyone thought Owen was destined for great things, but it still took him time as well.

“We played a semi-final here in 2015, and he reminded me that we lost a Champions Cup semi-final to Clermont the week before, and Charlie Hodgson had started ahead of him.

“Those three have been incredible for us, but to watch them develop as people and over the period has been great.”