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McCall allays fears over Farrell

Saracens delivered a positive update on Owen Farrell after the England fly-half missed Saturday's 40-19 Aviva Premiership victory over Sale with a thigh strain.

Fears had been raised over Farrell's involvement in the autumn series against New Zealand, South Africa, Samoa and Australia, but director of rugby Mark McCall insisted he will be back within two weeks.

"We don't expect Owen to be out for long, we're looking at it on a week by week basis," McCall said.

"It's a very minor strain and we're looking at a couple of weeks, maximum."

Saracens captain Brad Barritt limped off after 13 minutes with a calf strain and Charlie Hodgson lasted until the closing stages of the bonus-point victory before succumbing to cramp.

"To lose our captain Brad so early in the game obviously wasn't ideal," McCall said.

"I don't think it's terribly serious, but if he can turn around in time for Bath on Friday we'll find out in the next two days. Charlie has cramp and is fine."

Saracens ran in tries through Alex Goode, Ernst Joubert and Richard Barrington, while referee JP Doyle also awarded a penalty try after a five-metre scrum had collapsed.

"That was our first home game of the season and we showed some good intensity," McCall said.

"Our fundamentals were very good in the first half and put them under a lot of pressure. Our scrum was particularly good.

"We were pretty relentless and ruthless in that first half, but less so in the second half

"Give Sale some credit, they fought really hard in that second half, but overall it's a job well done. Five points in the bag and we move on."

Sale had slipped 30-7 behind by half-time and director of rugby Steve Diamond refused to be comforted by a doomed third-quarter fightback.

"We were demolished in the first half. We weren't at the races, but Saracens were," Diamond said.

"We rallied in the second half and should have put another couple of opportunities away and maybe got the bonus point, but we were thoroughly beaten.

"We have no qualms, it was a fair result. There aren't many positives you can take from a match when you've conceded 40 points."


From Belfast Telegraph