A new Saracens or same old home?


Saracens won their 6th Premiership title with a 35-25 victory over Sale Sharks at Twickenham, three years after they were relegated from England’s top tier.

But is this the same side as before those dark days or are we seeing a new Saracens being born.

Owen Farrell, who won the man of the match award for his performance at Twickenham, controlling the key moments of the epic season finale, was keen to stress how much the side he captained has developed this season.

He said: “What’s more important is how we’ve been all season.

“The difference that we made at the start of the year.

“The difference in probably raising our ceiling and where we can go and at this moment in time.”

Saracens finished the regular season top of the pile, five points ahead of second place Sale, and Farrell believes this already showed how far they have come.

“Regardless of how today went, it still feels like there’s a lot for this young team now still to go”, he said.

One of those young players who has broke through this season was Theo Dan.

The hooker came on ten minutes into the final due to a head injury for Jamie George, making a huge impact with 12 tackles and four defenders beaten.

Saracens Director of Rugby, Mark McCall was proud of how his young players played.

He said: “We’ve been playing some of these younger players all year.”

“You’ve got people like Theo Dan and Callum Hunter Hill.

“To lose Mako Vunipola before the game and Jamie George after 10 minutes is a significant blow given who was already missing from the pack.

“Those young lads stepped up but guided around by unbelievable senior players.”

McCall and Farrell admitted the team made major changes after last season’s heart breaking final defeat to Leicester Tigers.

The 55-year-old coach who has been at Sarries for 13 years now, but wanted his side to play a new way this season, which has worked in devasting fashion.

He said: “Like Owen said, we started this new way, really our new mentality.

“But our game, only nine months ago, to be honest.

“So I agree with him that today feels really good and it’s great to win but it feels like we’re just starting.”

One part of the London side’s game, which was a clear strength in the final was their work off the ball.

This was extremely impressive against a Sale side who are known for working extremely hard at the breakdown and across the park with players such as Tom Curry and Jono Ross.

Saracens won nine turnovers compared to Sale’s four and McCall stated this speed around the park came from work on the training ground.


He said: “We knew if we wanted to play the way we wanted to play, we certainly needed to get fitter and we worked pretty hard at that.

“We looked a bit dead in the first 20 minutes of the second half, and sometimes that’s emotionally driven, but we found a way out of that and through that and we lived right at it in the last sort of 10 or 15 minutes.”

Back in January 2020 it was announced that Sarries would be relegated to the Championship after salary cap breaches, and the club said they would learn from the mistakes and come back stronger, this promise came to fruition at Twickenham.

Captain Farrell has been at the club since 2008 and believes the atmosphere around the club, even during those difficult years has been “special” and even though the team having been trying to create a new style this season, they have built their culture over many years.

Across Sarries title-winning squad there is players like Jamie George who have been at the club for 14 years, Jackson Wray 14 years, Maro Itoje 11 years, which Farrell believes shows the type of the club Saracens have become.

He said: “I was just talking about this outside in terms of this club and in terms of it being a place that you want to fight for and a special place to be.

“I think what’s been created over the years and is still being created now is a place that nobody wants to leave.

“Is a place that people want to be part of and because of that there’s people been here for 15 years, players been here for 15 years.

“The amount of players that’s been here for that amount of time, between 10 and whatever, I think is outstanding for that to be the case.”

One of those players who has been at the club their whole career is Jackson Wray and Farrell paid tribute to the warrior back row who is hanging up his boots, as well as the departing centre Duncan Taylor.

He said: “Jackson (Wray) and Duncan (Taylor), exactly what I was talking about be before is everything that they are.

“I can’t imagine this place without them.

“Not just that we’re going to have to work hard to fill their boots because they’re unbelievable people and unbelievable characters.

“People you trust and people that you know are going to turn up every single day, never mind every single weekend.

“I can’t speak highly enough of them.

“The two of them are my best mates, that’s what this club’s created.”

The number ten, who captained his team to the trophy for the first time, believes this is a true “family” club who won’t be going away any time soon.

“You can talk about culture, you can talk about wanting to create something and for what this club’s done to keep that many people here for that long and that many people caring about the club and fighting for the club has properly made it into a genuine family,” he said.

“I know everybody says that and everybody talks about being tight-knit, but the time that we’ve spent together it makes you care about each other.

“And that’s been created way before the stuff that you’re talking about happened.

“I can see it happening for a long, long time now.”

Whether Sarries’ title winning side has been built over years of a great culture or the summer change of game plan is to be debated, but one thing the rest of the Premiership can be sure of is they will be back as good as ever come September.

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