Farrell set to return for Saracens in Euro Semi

England fly-half Owen Farrell looks set to return for Saracens European Rugby Champions Cup Semi-final against French club Clermont next weekend.

Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall has revealed that his star fly half could be back in action for the first time in almost three months.

Twenty-three-year-old Farrell was injured in Saracens pool stage loss to Clermont nearly three months ago and missed the whole of the Six Nations.

“Owen Farrell should be fine for next week,” said McCall after his side disposed of English Premiership play-off rivals Leicester 22-6 at Saracens’ Allianz Park home ground on Saturday.

However, while it remains to be seen if Farrell starts against Clermont or is merely among the replacements in Saint Etienne, his presence will undeniably bolster Saracens’ bid to reach a second successive senior European final.

Having edged past Racing Metro in their Champions Cup quarter-final, Saracens’ return to domestic action was rather less nerve-wracking.

They regained second place in the Premiership from Bath following tries either side of half-time by England No 8 Billy Vunipola, Argentina centre Marcelo Bosch and United States wing Chris Wyles — plus two conversions from former England fly-half Charlie Hodgson — obliterated Leicester’s early 6-0 lead secured by two Freddie Burns penalties.

Hodgson added a 62nd-minute penalty as Saracens scored 15 unanswered points

“There is a little bit of frustration in the dressing room because we scored our third try after 49 minutes, and not much happened after that from an attacking point of view,” McCall said.

“But for me, the character, fight and energy we showed in the last 30 minutes to keep making tackles, it’s pretty special. We have a group of guys who fight very hard for each other.”

Meanwhile former Ireland centre McCall warned playing Clermont would be a severe challenge for Saracens.

“Clermont are a club I admire enormously,” he said.

“They have lost a lot of semi-finals and finals over the years but they keep coming back for more, they keep improving.

“Their performance against Northampton (they thrashed the English champions 37-5 in the Champions Cup quarter-finals) was as good as anything that has been played by a club side this season, so we have got to try to find a way to put them under some pressure and put them in some difficult positions.”

Defeat left Leicester clinging on to the fourth and final play-off spot with three games of the regular season remaining.

“We put pressure on ourselves at times but they took their tries very well,” said Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill of Saracens.

“They work exceptionally hard in defence and we found them very hard to break down.”

“The challenge is for us to improve on what we did today,” the former Leicester and England hooker added.

“There is plenty of fight in us. We just need to be a bit smarter.”

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