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Leicester heap more misery on Saracens amid Owen Farrell bombshell report

By PA
Owen Farrell - PA

Saracens’ torrid weekend that began with revelations over Owen Farrell’s possible move to Racing 92 continued with a 19-10 Gallagher Premiership defeat at Leicester.

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Farrell’s champions struggled on a hard-fought afternoon in the East Midlands with the England captain powerless to prevent a third league defeat in four matches.

News he has been in talks with Racing 92 over joining the Top 14 leaders next season emerged on Friday, sending shockwaves through Saracens and the Premiership even if an agreement has yet to be reached.

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Farrell is England’s biggest star who has spent 15 years at StoneX Stadium, but a move to Paris would make him ineligible for the national side and land another blow on the credibility of a competition experiencing an exodus of players across the Channel.

If he does head to the French capital, on recent evidence he will be departing a troubled Saracens with their latest loss registering a fifth Premiership defeat of the season – their total for the whole of the 2022-23 campaign.

Errors by the 32-year-old contributed to two of Leicester’s three tries but Tigers also made life difficult for the visitors, their determination stamped all over an impressive display.

Owen Farrell Saracens
Owen Farrell has been linked to Racing 92 – PA
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Farrell’s early contributions were with the boot when stationed deep inside his own half as Saracens faced an early onslaught from the hosts, but in the 12th minute he made a significant blunder.

Flinging out a pass intended for Elliot Daly, the ball was instead picked off by centre Dan Kelly who cantered over for the opening try.

Saracens hit back with a long-range try inspired by Daly’s athleticism that was finished by Tom Parton and, having landed the conversion, the England fly-half delivered successive pinpoint kicks that forced Leicester to scramble.

Having nudged Saracens five points ahead with a penalty, he then dropped a simple pass and kicked a ball straight into touch, inviting Tigers to attack from the edge of the 22.

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With waves of Leicester runners building pressure, the visiting defence cracked with Matt Rogerson crashing over to open a 12-10 lead.

Kelly had a second try in which he outhustled Daly controversially chalked off and the frantic pace continued into the second half with both sides going close to scoring.

Leicester turned down three routine points in favour of going for the corner and they began hammering away at the whitewash, gaining the advantage of Maro Itoje’s departure to the sin-bin for not retreating 10 metres.

Saracens’ scrum was stood up and, with the white shirts buckling before the repeated attacks, quick hands delivered the key moment with Harry Simmons finishing in the right corner.

Leicester now had the cushion to close out the game and they did this in solid fashion to leave the visitors positioned in sixth place in the table.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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