‘Hodgson one of the greats’ – McCall

Date published: May 25 2016

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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall believes they will lose 'the best passer of a rugby ball' when Charlie Hodgson retires on Saturday.

The experienced fly-half will make his final Premiership appearance in this week's final as he hangs up his boots at the end of the season.

Champions Cup winners Saracens face Exeter at Twickenham and Hodgson is ready to wave goodbye in what will be his 253rd league appearance.

Hodgson joined Saracens from Sale Sharks in 2011 and the veteran could cap a remarkable career by becoming a Premiership champion for a fourth time – 10 years after his first title with the Manchester outfit in 2006.

The 38-time England international will hang up his boots after Saturday's showpiece to become Saracens' new head of recruitment and talent identification.

And McCall thinks a European and domestic double would be an apt finale to Hodgson's stunning career at the pinnacle of English rugby.

"If he does end up starting it will be just reward for an incredible Aviva Premiership career," McCall said of the 35-year-old.

"I would have thought he is probably one of the greats of Aviva Premiership Rugby down the years.

"The word class sums him up. He was class out on the training field today and he is one of the best passers of the ball I have ever seen.

"He has had a great career and it is probably fitting that he should finish his career with a final appearance, and hopefully a win."

Hodgson has kicked 154 points in 13 starts this season and could pull on the number 10 jersey yet again if Owen Farrell does not shake off a rib injury sustained in last weekend's 44-17 semi-final win over Leicester Tigers.

McCall was hopeful that Grand Slam winner Farrell – who was named in Eddie Jones' England squad for their three-Test tour of Australia – would be available for Saturday, but was more than confident that Hodgson could step into the breach if required.

He said: "He needs to be able to train on Thursday to play on Saturday, but we fully expect him to be able to train then.

"He has been playing phenomenally well, maybe as well as anybody around at the moment, but I am not going to rush that decision."

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