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The rule Mark McCall insisted must be kept when quizzed about Farrell

By Liam Heagney
Owen Farrell reacts to Saracens' loss at Leicester (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Mark McCall has refused to embrace the bombshell speculation that Owen Farrell is “very close” to committing to a two-year deal to join Racing 92 rather than agree on a Saracens extension for the 2024/25 season.

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The sabbatical-taking England skipper captained Saracens in their 10-19 Gallagher Premiership loss at Leicester on Saturday, the day after media reports emerged in France claiming that Farrell was set to quit the English league for a stint in the Top 14 under the Paris club that now have Stuart Lancaster – the 2012-2015 England coach – at the helm.

The loss of Farrell would be an earthquake-like blow for Saracens but, after his team’s Mattioli Woods Welford Road loss, McCall attempted to play down the situation by avoiding comment on it.

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Sam Warburton on Leinster and Jacques Nienaber

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Sam Warburton on Leinster and Jacques Nienaber

Initially asked how Farrell played in a match where an intercepted pass by him resulted in a first-half Leicester try, McCall said: “I thought he went well. Like he always did, he led from the front.”

But what about all the transfer speculation since Friday afternoon that he was quitting for the Top 14? “He is very good at putting distractions to one side and just doing his best for the team and we saw that again today.”

How have his Saracens teammates reacted to the rumoured exit? “You’d have to ask them,” continued McCall, adding with his next reply: “Genuinely, it’s just not fair for anyone to talk about something that, like I said before the game, is speculation. It’s just not fair to anyone. Until there is something to talk about we are not going to talk about it.”

What the Saracens boss did go on to insist was that the current RFU rule which makes any player based outside the Premiership ineligible for England Test selection must remain in situ to protect the status of the English top-flight.

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“We all want the Premiership to be as strong a competition as it can be, which is why it is essential that the rule that you can only play for England if you play in the Premiership needs to stay.

“Top 14 is a strong league at the moment, there’s no doubt about it, and it’s getting away. Hopefully, someone can do something about that.

“The (Premiership) games are brilliant, that is why I don’t really want to talk too negatively about the question you have just asked me (about the Top 14) because I think the Premiership is strong and entertaining at the moment. It’s tight and some teams are doing well in Europe so there is much to be positive I think.”

McCall later added: “Having Owen Farrell in your team is something everybody would want.” However, he wrapped up the weekend’s hot topic by claiming, “No, I am not going to talk about it” when asked if Farell had had a conversation with him about possibly leaving.

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Points Flow Chart

Leicester win +9
Time in lead
56
Mins in lead
13
70%
% Of Game In Lead
16%
48%
Possession Last 10 min
52%
0
Points Last 10 min
0
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Comments

7 Comments
B
BigMaul 158 days ago

Mark McCall insisting rules must be followed? Hilarious.

D
Diarmid 158 days ago

What a sour article? Nonsense regurgitated if not from the daily mail then very much in the style of. This is the kind of drivel that makes people want to cash in over the channel.

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