Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Rugby

Ford angered by Farrell challenge

Published 30/05/2015

Owen Farrell scored Saracen's opening try and ended the Aviva Premiership final with 18 points
Owen Farrell scored Saracen's opening try and ended the Aviva Premiership final with 18 points

Bath head coach Mike Ford insisted Owen Farrell should have been sent off for his high tackle in Saracens' 28-16 victory in the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham.

Farrell felled Anthony Watson with a swinging arm in the second minute, leaving his England team-mate dazed and in need of treatment, and while Wayne Barnes awarded a penalty to Bath, he took no further action.

The first of Saracens' three tries was scored by man of the match Farrell in the sixth minute and moments later a groggy Watson departed for a head injury assessment and was unable to return.

When asked if he thought the tackle should have been punished with a red card, Ford replied "I did" and also revealed that he had spoken to Barnes about an incident that is sure to interest the citing officer.

"There's big concern to be honest and I've spoken to Wayne Barnes about it," Ford said.

"It was an illegal challenge square on the nose and we lost one of our best players. The other guy stayed on and got man of the match.

"Wayne Barnes said he should have looked at it more closely on the TMO. Anthony is good. It's a head injury, but he's come round and he's fine.

"I don't want to go on about it, that's rugby. Sometimes you get those decisions sometimes you don't. It wasn't the reason we lost the game."

Farrell, who also kicked two conversions and three penalties to finish with an 18-point haul, apologised to Watson for the tackle and now faces an anxious wait to see if he is cited knowing any suspension could disrupt his World Cup preparations.

The citing officer has 24 hours to lodge a complaint for an offence that carries an entry point sanction of two weeks, a mid range of six weeks and top end of 10 weeks.

If Farrell is banned, he will be forced to miss some, or all, of England's warm-up fixtures against France - home and away - and Ireland.

"I feel bad that Anthony had to go off but there was no intent from me. There never would be in that situation - I'm not that kind of player. Things like this happen in rugby," Farrell said.

"I spoke to him after the game, apologised and told him there was no intent behind it. Obviously he was pretty down. I said sorry because, intentionally or not, I still did it."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall was unable to shed any light on the high tackle.

"I probably haven't had as close an inspection of it as Mike Ford has, so I don't really know," McCall said.

Saracens wings Chris Ashton and David Strettle have been linked with moves to Clermont next season and, while McCall insisted the former was staying at Allianz Park, he all but confirmed the latter's departure.

"It definitely won't be Chris Ashton's last game. It could well be David Strettle's," McCall said.

Saracens led 25-3 at half-time following tries by Farrell, Jamie George and Chris Wyles before weathering Bath's fightback to atone for their defeats in last year's Premiership and European finals.

"That feels really good. Last year was painful - there was a lot of hurt. But we promised ourselves it wouldn't be an excuse for the season we had," McCall said.

"We deserved nothing just because we had lost in the finals last year, so we had to earn everything we got.

"It's been an up and down season from time to time, but that first-half performance was pretty special and I'm thrilled we got over the line."

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph