Saracens 52-7 Harlequins: Mark McCall hails 'incredible' Owen Farrell after London derby rout

On top form: Owen Farrell delivered a brilliant performance as Saracens thrashed Harlequins (Getty Images)
On top form: Owen Farrell delivered a brilliant performance as Saracens thrashed Harlequins (Getty Images)

Mark McCall hailed Owen Farrell for hitting his best form in years as Saracens thumped Harlequins 52-7.

Farrell piloted Sarries’ eight-try derby thrashing of sorry Quins at a packed Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, to draw first blood as the Gallagher Premiership resumed after a seven-week break.

Former England skipper Farrell will join Racing 92 this summer, and is now determined to claim a seventh domestic crown for defending champions Saracens.

Saracens jumped up to second with their win, and will head to Northampton on Friday night where the winners will top the table.

The Men In Black could hardly have delivered a more ominous return to action, and rugby director McCall hailed Farrell’s key role, on the occasion of his 250th Saracens appearance.

“Owen was incredible, he played as well as I’ve seen him for a very long time,” said McCall.

“It looked like it mattered to him today, and I think it’s going to be like that for the rest of the season, hopefully.

“We weren’t expecting the scoreline or the performance to be quite at that level.

“We do understand however that when you are dominant that’s not always reflected on the scoreboard, but today it was.

“You can get frustrated when your dominance is not rewarded, and that didn’t happen to us today, so a little bit of a red flag for next week.

“To hit the ground running the way some of them did without playing for seven weeks is very encouraging.

“We’ve got competition for places, strength in depth in the pack.

“But really pleased with people like Lucio Cinti, who was brilliant in defence. We defended really well today.”

Theo Dan and Sean Maitland both crossed twice, with Alex Lewington, Cinti, Juan Martin Gonzalez and Alex Goode all scoring too.

Alex Dombrandt did score for Quins, but the west Londoners were left to lick some considerable wounds.

Farrell was presented with a shirt to mark his 250th club match after the resounding win, with Joining Jack charity founder Jack Johnson doing the honours.

Farrell has been a long-term patron of the charity that raises awareness and funds for research into Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“Owen didn’t enjoy being the centre of attention,” said McCall. “But the players wanted to make it a special week because they think so highly of him.

“Jack from the charity presented him with his commemorative jersey after the game, which was very emotional.”

Harlequins entered the weekend second in the table but dropped to fifth in defeat.

Head coach Danny Wilson admitted Quins were bested in every department, and challenged the whole organisation to respond, and fast.

“That’s not been us this season, we’ve come into this game second in the league and with a home match in the European knockout stages,” said Wilson.

“This game can quickly remind you that if you’re slightly off, you’re in trouble.

“We were more than slightly off today, and we ended up in trouble.

“We haven’t come back as fast as we needed to today. There’s a number of things we talked about, and we’ll put them right and bounce back against Bath at home next weekend.

“The league is so tight that we have to bounce back. The key is not backing this up with a similar performance.

“You’ve got to front it, face it, then prove it to be a one-off, a bombshell, and respond to the bombshell. You can’t let it linger or brush it under the carpet.”