Owen Farrell’s ‘magnificent influence’ hailed after Saracens’ narrow win over Bath

David Skippers
Premiership: Owen Farrell warms up alongside Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall watches as Owen Farrell lines up a kick during a warm-up session.

Saracens boss Mark McCall praised his captain Owen Farrell’s “magnificent influence” after he slotted a last-gasp penalty which secured a narrow victory for his team over Bath on Friday night.

Farrell’s place kick in the 78th minute proved the difference between the sides as Sarries clinched a 15-12 victory at the Recreation Ground that moves them above the home side into second position in the Premiership standings.

Saracens dominated the early exchanges and had their tails up at half-time as they held a 12-0 lead courtesy of tries from Tom Parton and Rotimi Segun while Farrell added a conversion.

Superb fightback from Bath

To their credit, Bath launched a superb fightback and drew level at 12-12 by the 65th minute after replacements Thomas du Toit and Cameron Redpath crossed the whitewash and Ben Spencer succeeded with one conversion.

However, Racing 92-bound Farrell was the visitors’ hero as he held his nerve to slot the match-winning penalty which was a fitting reward as he caught the eye with an outstanding all-round performance.

And McCall was singing his praises after the match.

“He (Farrell) was unreal, he was magnificent,” said the Saracens director of rugby. “He competed for everything, and his team-mates did too. He has got a magnificent influence on the group when he is in that kind of mood.

“He loves these kind of games when everything is on the line, and he led incredibly well.

“It feels big. It was more about our performance – we needed to rediscover some of the team energy that had been a bit lacking in the last couple of weeks.

“We needed to have each other’s backs and fight for each other, and I am really proud of that.

Owen Farrell magic steers Saracens to statement Premiership win at Bath

“I think that can be a springboard for us. It was awesome to be part of tonight. It just felt good out there.”

Farrell hailed his team’s narrow triumph as a “tremendous” result as the Premiership champions took a giant step towards booking their place in this season’s play-offs.

“It is a tough old place to come. It always has been, but especially this year,” Farrell told TNT Sports.

“They are a top, top side. For us to come here and stick in the fight like we did after a couple of tough results we’ve had of late was tremendous.

“We’ve gone back to being a little bit more ourselves today. We felt more comfortable.

“By no means was that perfect. There were loads of mistakes, but we fought for each other and we enjoyed doing it.”

‘That’s why they’re champions’

Meanwhile, Bath head of rugby Johann van Graan said: “Congratulations to Saracens. That is why they are the champions.

“It was a titanic battle, and I shook Mark’s hand afterwards and said across the 80 minutes they were better than us.

“We will take our one point and will keep running our own race. That was as close to a Test match in the Premiership as you will get.”

READ MORE: Owen Farrell set to make international return for France clash