European Champions Cup
Farrell comes through return unscathed
ESPN Staff
October 25, 2014
Owen Farrell is tackled by Paul O'Connell, European Rugby Champions Cup, Munster v Saracens, Thomond Park, October 24, 2014
Owen Farrell is tackled by Munster's Paul O'Connell © Getty Images
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Saraces coach Mark McCall was pleased with Owen Farrell's return to the Saracens' starting line-up in 14-3 defeat to Munster at Thomond Park on Friday night.

"He played the full 80 minutes, which is very important for him," McCall said. "It was hard to be our No 10 because we didn't have a lot of ball. When we did have the ball we looked dangerous, we made a lot of half-breaks, but we couldn't quite finish them off."

Farrell started for only the second time this season and the first time in a month but despite having his leg strapped, completed 80 minutes and was as resolute as ever in defence. Farrell's performance will please England coach Stuart Lancaster as the national team's opening autumn international - against New Zealand on November 8 - looms large. Farrell was one of three fly-halves, alongside George Ford and Stephen Myler, named by Lancaster in the squad for the series.

McCall was left frustrated by Saracens' defeat in Limerick and was disappointed not to take a losing bonus-point, but believes it's still all to play for in Pool 1:

"I think you want to come away with something from the game. I don't think we were overwhelmed by the occasion or anything of that nature. We had a couple of half decent chances near the end, somebody made a break with five minutes to go. Unfortunately we made an error. That was the story of our night, too many set piece errors, too many aerial errors, too many errors in general.

"I think the pool is wide open. We would have, as a minimum, wanted to take five points from our first two games. You have the win the first one and come away with a losing bonus from the second.

"The fact we scored four tries and got a bonus last weekend against Clermont was a big bonus. We now have Sale back-to-back and it is important we get as many points as we can from those two games (in December)."

McCall also supported the decision of referee Jérôme Garcès to sin-bin Saracens replacement prop Rhys Gill for a tip tackle. In Gill's absence, Munster scored eight points to take the game away from the visitors.

"No, I thought it was fair enough. You can't take someone above the horizontal like that, we knew that. I think it was an accident. It wasn't malicious, you could see that clearly.

"It was the kind of game that when you tried to play catch up it was quite difficult. They defended well, they kicked the ball a lot and they looked good in the air. I think our set-piece which had been a strength in the first-half wasn't a strength in the second half."

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