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 knew he was in trouble. After a high tackle on Wasps’ Charlie Atkinson which earned him a red card, the England captain put his hands up and said to the referee: ‘I know that’s bad’, then shouted ‘f***’ as he walked off.
He now faces a ban for Saracens’ upcoming Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster, while it is not inconceivable that he is dropped as England skipper.
Atkinson, an 18-year-old academy player, was on the floor being treated for around five minutes before being replaced and Farrell was seen apologising to 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
Farrell’s dismissal took the attention off a notable win for 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.
He 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 on September 19. 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 must be odds-against playing against Leinster.
Mark McCall, the Saracens director of rugby, insisted his side had coped without Farrell and could do it again. He said: ‘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.
‘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 Izack Rodda and South Africa’s Andre Esterhuizen. He escaped punishment on those occasions but was not so lucky this time and referee Christophe Ridley sent him off straight away.
Jimmy Gopperth scored 23 points in his 100th game for Wasps, including seven penalties
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.’
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.
Atkinson (left) was on the floor being treated for around five minutes before being replaced
Elliot Daly scored against his old club to put Saracens in front after three minutes but the home side were off colour.
Wasps led 12-7 at half-time, thanks to four Gopperth penalties, 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 sent off it was 15-15.
Wasps flanker Tom Willis went over with 10 minutes left and Gopperth’s boot did the rest.