Owen Farrell reflects ‘fondly’ on Saracens career after defeat to Northampton

Owen Farrell reflected on the highs and lows of his decorated Saracens career after signing off his time in English rugby with a 22-20 defeat by Northampton.

Saints booked their place in next Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final with a hard-fought victory at Franklin’s Gardens founded on Fin Smith’s 17-point haul and a Burger Odendaal try.

Farrell made his Saracens his debut as a 17-year-old in 2008 but joins Racing 92 next season, with his former England team-mates Mako and Billy Vunipola also heading across The Channel.

Leinster v Saracens – Champions Cup Final – St James’ Park
Owen Farrell enjoyed a trophy-laden career with Saracens (PA)

The 32-year-old, who signed autographs and posed for photos after the final whistle, was emotional as he reflected on his time at a club that has produced six Premiership and three European winners medals.

“I think I had my first game here when I was 13, I remember going along to pre-season with my dad that year. I’ve spent most of my life at this club. I’ve loved it,” Farrell said.

“When you get to occasions like these and there are atmospheres like this, it’s brilliant. I’ve loved it, I’ve loved all of it.

“There have been brilliant times and tough times and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ll probably look back on these couple of weeks more than any other in my career.

“I’m all right. It’s sad that this season is done and is done for a few of us here. I’ll look back at it fondly rather than it being sad times.”

Remarkably, Farrell played the play-off despite suffering a quad injury on Monday that threatened his participation and even set up a try for Alex Lewington with a grubber.

“There was a small tear there so Owen didn’t want to kick at all in the match,” director of rugby Mark McCall said.

“We weren’t sure he was going to play and we had to see if he could get through the warm-up. It was quite remarkable that he was on one leg but we were able to stay in the battle.

“It was incredible for him in his last game at Saracens that he was able to do that for that team.”

Phil Dowson
Phil Dowson urged his side not to get carried away before the final (PA)

There were carnival scenes at Franklin’s Gardens as Northampton players celebrated with the fans and their families, but director of rugby Phil Dowson muted the party atmosphere by declaring they still have a final to win.

“We want to enjoy that because the players are not monks. It’s already quite late and Northampton doesn’t have that many late night salons! So there are limited options for them,” Dowson said.

“Courtney Lawes said in the huddle afterwards ‘that’s great lads, a tough game against really good opposition, but the job’s not done, we want to play well at Twickenham’.”