Owen Farrell looks back on his Aviva Premiership Rugby Final memories
If Saracens can overcome Wasps in the Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-finals this weekend the club will take up a place in a sixth final in nine years.
That run highlights an extraordinary period of excellence at the top of club rugby, with all but one of those finals played under director of rugby Mark McCall, who took over in the 2010-11 season.
Those five finals yielded three trophies, with the club’s maiden triumph at this level coming in 2011 courtesy of a 22-18 win over Leicester Tigers at Twickenham.
That season saw Owen Farrell, England’s captain for this summer, on loan at Bedford Blues but also returning to play a key part in the final with five penalties and a conversion.
Saracens led for most of the match but had to withstand a Tigers fightback in the second half, with then 19-year-old Farrell showing now-familiar big match temperament to land a crucial touchline penalty with seven minutes remaining – quelling the Leicester resurgence.
“That one was probably different to the other finals I was involved with,” said Farrell, now 26.
“I think in your first year of playing and being a young lad, being involved in it, the nerves in the weeks leading up to it were probably a bit more than the others.
“I just remember it being the first properly big event that I was involved with as a rugby player, obviously to win the first title as a club was huge.
🎥 With this weekend’s @premrugby semi-final clash against Wasps fast approaching, lets take a look back at the previous encounters against the Coventry side earlier this season! ⚫️🔴 pic.twitter.com/2TqrcN43RY
— Saracens Rugby Club (@Saracens) May 15, 2018
“To share that experience together and get to lift the cup was just a brilliant day.”
Farrell has seen one or two more big events since then and has another coming up this weekend with the visit of Wasps to Allianz Park.
The north London club have been in fine form in recent months, taking five Aviva Premiership Rugby wins on the trot and accruing more than 50 points in three of those games.
Farrell is pleased to see back rows Billy Vunipola and Michael Rhodes fit once again, with thoughts very much focused on Wasps rather than the final.
The fly-half added: “He was our player of the year last year (Rhodes) and he’s had a bad time with injuries at the club.
“It’s really exciting having him back as well as Billy (Vunipola).
“We’re pleased to get a home semi-final, we’re just looking to build on what we’ve been doing through the year and make sure we kick on now.
“We’ve not talked about the final or the title or anything like that.
“It’s an important part of the year and it’s a time when people kick on and we’re definitely trying to do that.”