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'He's done it time and time again... He lives for those moments'

By PA
Owen Farrell of Saracens is congratulated by team mates after kicking the winning conversion during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Saracens and Gloucester Rugby at StoneX Stadium on September 24, 2022 in Barnet, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Mark McCall declared that Owen Farrell “lives for those moments” after watching Saracens’ captain kick successive conversions in a dramatic 41-39 Gallagher Premiership victory over Gloucester.

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Trailing by 12 points heading into the final 10 minutes, Saracens completed the second fightback of a rollercoaster clash at StoneX Stadium when replacement hooker Tom Woolstencroft finished two tries from line-out drives.

Farrell needed to land both conversions from similar positions five metres in from the touchline to secure the win and the England fly-half duly delivered, with the second dropping between the posts in the final act of the game.

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Gloucester head coach George Skivington admitted “I’d packed my bags at that point” when he saw Farrell prepare for the kick and McCall also had total conviction it was going over.

“I’m not sure we’d rather have anyone else kicking. He’s done it time and time again,” Saracens director of rugby McCall said.

“He lives for those moments. Having that competitive spirit on the field at that stage of the match is exactly what you want.”

Saracens saw a 20-10 lead disintegrate as Gloucester scored 26 unanswered points by using their maul to expose the hosts’ Achilles heel, which they then targeted ruthlessly.

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But in a sudden and complete role reversal the maul then became a weapon for last season’s Premiership runners-up, who used it to score their last three tries.

“Well done to the bench, they had a big impact on the last 20 minutes of the game,” McCall said.

“We had a horrible period either side of half-time when we conceded 26 points. The game was getting away from us.

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“While we are really pleased with the result at the end and the impact of the bench, there’s probably more bad than good in the match.

“The way we lost our way is something that we’ll have to reflect on. We can’t be happy with how we played in that first 50 minutes.

“Our rugby wasn’t perfect in the last 20 minutes, far from it, but there was a different energy in the group.

“I’m grateful for the way we played at the end but overall we’ve got to be way better than that.”

Gloucester appeared destined for victory until they abruptly joined Saracens in proving incapable of defending the maul.

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“I’m massively disappointed. I’m gutted. There’s no point pretending I don’t feel sick about that one,” Skivington said.

“The reality is we had a 12-point lead with 15 minutes to go and we didn’t manage it well enough.

“There was a bit of desperation on their part, they had nothing to lose in the last 15 and they pushed their luck at the breakdown. That’s the way the game goes.”

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