McCall backs Farrell to bounce back after poor kicking display
Owen Farrell's strength of character will see him bounce back from his torrid performance against Leicester Tigers last Saturday, according to Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall.
The England international missed four out of five kicks at goal in the 9-9 stalemate at Wembley before being replaced by Charlie Hodgson, who salvaged a draw for Sarries with two quick penalties.
McCall, whose side are preparing to visit Exeter Chiefs on Sunday, gave his full backing to the 20-year-old, revealing that a minor injury that had hindered his match preparation was partially to blame. "It was just one of those things," said McCall, whose side sit in fourth spot in the Aviva Premiership, four points behind early pace-setters and defending champions Harlequins.
"He's had a small groin problem since the end of August so he hasn't had the same practice as he normally does. But that sort of performance is very rare.
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"Owen's a magnificent player for us – everyone has the odd bad day at the office and Owen has the strength of character to come back."
On a more positive note for Saracens, Farrell's club and international team-mate Brad Barritt has signed a new long-term deal at the club.
The South Africa-born centre joined Sarries from Natal Sharks in 2008 and has become an invaluable member of the squad, while also forcing his way into the England side and winning seven international caps.
"Saracens is different to many professional sports clubs simply because the primary focus is on people rather than results," said the 26-year-old, who suffered a lacerated eyeball in England's recent tour of South Africa.
"Every individual gets treated unbelievably well and, in return, every individual tries unbelievably hard. I am very happy here, I feel I am continuing to improve and develop on and off the field and it was a very easy decision to sign a long-term extension."
McCall echoed Barritt's delight, claiming that the centre was "talented, skilful and courageous".
"Brad is one of many players who have provided outstanding service to Saracens over the past three seasons," said McCall. "He is talented, skilful and courageous, and we are delighted he has committed his future to the cause."