Saracens sweat over Owen Farrell’s fitness for Champions Cup clash with Ospreys after injury
The England captain suffered a recurrence of an ankle injury which clouded his preparations for the final Six Nations match, the 29-16 loss to Ireland in Dublin.
Farrell managed to resolve the issue in time to begin the trip to the Aviva Stadium in England, but hampered the closing stages in Saracens’ 36-24 win over Harlequins on Saturday.
Sarries sealed a place in the top two in the Premiership in front of a crowd of 55,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the only blemish being Farrell’s injury scare.
Director of Rugby Mark McCall has admitted Farrell has added a new problem to his existing problem, giving the 31-year-old eight days to get fit for next Sunday’s Saracens Ospreys clash.
“I think he just made the ankle worse that he made worse with England,” McCall said. “So I don’t know how it’s going to be next week, we’ll wait and see.
“I’ve seen him in the dressing room and he’s fine, we just need to see how much he’s made it worse. It was a first year before which is normally a seven-day turnaround he’s had. managed to make it for the week in England, and played that game.
“Whether or not it’s still a grade one, we’ll see, but if it’s more than that, he won’t play. We want to make a good decision on this. It would be great to have it, but if we don’t have it, we don’t have it and we will carry on. We certainly won’t play him if he’s not right.
Saracens’ home play-off is now secure, with three games remaining of the regular season. Harlequins ran in four tries against the hosts’ five, but in truth were never quite able to turn an entertaining clash into a real contest.
McCall’s Men In Black are regaining their status as the team to beat, and their inexorable march to the league semi-finals is an ominous warning to their Premiership rivals. Farrell returned to lead the team after his England duties, and did so in comfortable style until his injury.
“I thought he was great, all the right things on offense, he got central to that, but he also had some really good defensive interventions,” McCall said. “Qualifying for the semi-finals with three games to play is an achievement that belongs to the whole team, not just those who played today.
“We used 48 players in 17 games, which is a lot. Securing this home play-off is up to the whole team.
Harlequins are now up against him to crack the top four in the Premiership play-offs. Head coach Tabai Matson hailed his team for claiming a bonus point from four tries and insisted they would not give up their play-off hope.
“We didn’t come out of the Premiership, that makes it more difficult,” Matson said. “I’m not sure about the math now and what will happen at the end of the weekend, but if there is a math chance we will fight until the end.”