Saracens 18-28 Wasps: Owen Farrell sent off for shocking high tackle

Saracens 18-28 Wasps: Owen Farrell sent off for shocking high tackle and now a doubt for Champions Cup quarter-final as Sarries suffer humbling defeat

  • Owen Farrell was sent off as Saracens suffered a humbling 18-28 loss to Wasps 
  • The England star received a red card for a high challenge on Charlie Atkinson 
  • Jimmy Gopperth scored 23 points as he kicked over seven penalties for visitors 

Owen Farrell is set to miss the biggest match of Saracens’ season after being red-carded for a high tackle an hour into this humbling defeat for the English champions.

Farrell was sent off by referee Christophe Ridley for a challenge on Wasps replacement Charlie Atkinson, an 18-year-old academy player, on 60 minutes and must be a doubt for Saracens’ European Champions Cup quarter final against Leinster on 19 September.

Atkinson was on the floor being treated for around five minutes before being replaced and Farrell was seen apologising the youngster as he came off the pitch.

Saracens star Owen Farrell was sent off as the relegated side suffered a humbling defeat

The England international was given his marching orders for a high tackle on Charlie Atkinson

The England captain’s dismissal took the attention off a notable win by a young Wasps side

The England captain’s dismissal took the attention off a notable win by Wasps, who fielded a young side, against Saracens’ galacticos and keeps them in play-off contention.

Jimmy Gopperth scored 23 points in his 100th game for Wasps, including seven penalties for the visitors and Farrell’s red put the seal on a dismal day for the reigning European champions.

Farrell will face a disciplinary hearing this week which will decide his immediate fate. Saracens have games away at Sale on Wednesday and at home to Exeter on Sunday ahead of their Dublin date and those fixtures may have a bearing on whether Farrell is available as they could form part of ban.

The minimum ban for high tackles is two weeks, mid-range ban is six weeks and suspensions can go up to a year. Credit is given for showing remorse and a good disciplinary record but Farrell – despite his status in the game – must odds-against playing against Leinster in possibly Saracens’ last meaningful game of the season following their relegation.

Mark McCall, the Saracens director of rugby, insisted his side had coped without Farrell and could do it again.

He said: ‘McCall: ‘I watched it live but have not watched it on the video. He was chasing his own kick and was desperate to make a tackle and clearly got it wrong and he got his red card.

Jimmy Gopperth scored 23 points in his 100th game for Wasps, including seven penalties

‘It is what it is. He could easily have been out of the Leinster came for another reason – injury or whatever. He missed the last quarter-final of the Champions Cup because his wife was having their first child. We have got plenty of good backs at the club so we will just rearrange our back line a little bit and get on with it.

‘He works really hard on all parts of game and he has improved in that area. Today’s incident was a little bit different because he was chasing a kick and trying to make a difference to his team. We hope the player he hit is ok, I think he was, it is a real shame.’

Farrell’s tackle technique came under scrutiny in the autumn of 2018 when he was involved in high profile incidents involving challenges on Australia’s Isack Rodda and South Africa’s Andre Esterhuizen.

He escaped punishment on those occasions but was not so lucky this time and referee Ridley sent him off straight away. Farrell appeared to acknowledge that the tackle was a bad one before the card appeared and went off the pitch cursing.

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett added: ‘Charlie is up and talking. You know Owen he is physical but the didn’t mean it. You could see instantly afterwards and unfortunately Owen got that one wrong. We know Owen is not that type of player – he plays on the edge but genuinely never goes over that edge. He got that slightly wrong.’

Atkinson (left) was on the floor being treated for around five minutes before being replaced

Farrell’s card capped a frustrating afternoon for the 28-year-old who had a poor day with the boot out of hand and his passing game in front of England assistant coach John Mitchell.

Saracens put out there strongest side – barring Mako Vunipola and Richard Wigglesworth – as a tune-up for the Leinster match but after Elliot Daly scored against his old club after three minutes they were off colour.

Wasps had two players making their Premiership debut and were missing the likes of Joe Launchbury but took it to the champions.

Gopperth’s boot kept them in contention and worryingly for Saracens Wasps managed to rip through the home midfield on a couple of occasions without crossing the line.

Wasps led 12-7 at half-time before the real Saracens turned up for the next quarter of the match. Farrell and Daly combined to put Sean Maitland away and when Farrell was send off it was 15-15.

Wasps flanker Tom Willis went over with 10 minutes left and Gopperth’s boot did the rest.

McCall added: ‘We are incredibly disappointed with that performance.’




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