Premiership: Owen Farrell feels players are walking a tightrope on defence

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 Credit: PA Images
Credit: PA Images

Owen Farrell believes players are forced to walk a tightrope on defence after Saracens advanced to the Premiership final despite receiving three yellow cards in Saturday’s semi-final triumph over Harlequins.

Sarries sealed a 34-17 win at StoneX Stadium and are on the brink of redemption following their salary cap breaches which resulted in them being relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019/20 season.

Great fightback

They will face Leicester Tigers in Saturday’s final at Twickenham but had to dig deep to overcome defending champions Quins, who held a 12-3 lead early in the first half.

Saracens showed great resilience to secure that result as they played with 13 men for five minutes of the second half and for 25 minutes with at least one player in the sin bin after Elliot Daly, Billy Vunipola and Alex Lozowski were all yellow carded for dangerous challenges.

Harlequins also had to play with 14 men for 10 minutes after Jack Walker was also yellow carded for a similar offence.

Rugby has a zero tolerance policy towards high tackling due to the risks which come with it but Farrell, who is Saracens’ captain, said players are forced to make immediate decisions on defence which could have serious consequences if they get it wrong.

“A few of the tackles were just trying to be dominant. There was no malice in it and the referee has seen it as a yellow card and that’s it, we get on with it,” he said.

“There are times you can slow down loads of contact on TV and find something. When there’s a bigger collision people look at it more.

“It’s a very fine line and I don’t think people quite understand when it gets slowed down on TV how quick those decisions are.

“We know what we can and can’t do, but you still have to have enough intent to go forward in your defence. If you are constantly being passive you probably won’t get picked next week.

“I’m glad everyone is doing what they can to make the game go in the right direction in terms of safety and we will do what we can to control that.

“Hopefully it goes in the right direction – the game is safe but there’s some common sense to it too.”

READ MORE: Premiership: Mark McCall hails Saracens’ resilience after semi-final win over Harlequins

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