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Saracens thrash Glasgow despite dad-to-be Farrell's absence

The England kicker played no part in today’s Champions Cup quarter-final after his wife went into labour this morning.

SARACENS HAMMERED GLASGOW 56-27 in the European Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, making light of captain Owen Farrell’s pre-match dash to the hospital after his wife went into labour.

Sale Sharks v Saracens - Gallagher Premiership - AJ Bell Stadium Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell was absent from today's Champions Cup quarter-final. Source: Richard Sellers

Saracens were forced into a late reshuffle of their back-line after fly-half Farrell was ruled out on the morning of the game.

Farrell, however, was so keen to play he phoned coach Mark McCall 45 minutes before kick-off.

But Farrell was hardly missed as Saracens ran in seven tries, with Wales star Liam Williams and David Strettle scoring two tries apiece.

“His wife went into labour last night,” McCall told reporters.

“At half eight this morning he was pretty confident it would all happen, but it didn’t.

He did phone me at 2.30pm and say in the next half-hour… I said ‘Owen, the game starts at 3:15pm’.”

Saracens, the 2016 and 2017 European champions, who also beat Glasgow at the same stage two years ago, will now face Munster in the semi-finals in Coventry on 20 April after the Irish giants knocked out Edinburgh earlier on Saturday.

Saracens v Glasgow Warriors - European Champions Cup - Quarter Final - Allianz Park David Strettle scores a try against Glasgow this afternoon. Source: Adam Davy

But Alex Goode, moving from full-back to fly-half, kept Saracens’ back division ticking over while stand-in goalkicker Alex Lozowski was only off target once in a match haul of 21 points as Saracens beat Glasgow for the third time this season after two pool wins.

“Alex came in and did a magnificent job,” said McCall. “David Strettle did a great job off the bench. Liam was great at full-back.”

To beat a team with 57 points in a European quarter-final says you’re not a bad team,” said McCall.

The only downside for Saracens was when captain Brad Barritt went off in the closing moments with an ankle injury.

“It’s potentially devastating,” said McCall. “It’s an ankle sprain. They can be OK, or not good, and we won’t know for a few days.”

‘Choked’

Glasgow opened the scoring in the second minute but from then on it was largely one-way traffic, with Warriors coach Dave Rennie saying: “We got a hiding from a team that choked us.

You can’t put in a performance like that against Saracens and hope to get a result.”

Yet Scotland’s Stuart Hogg, returning after seven weeks out with a shoulder injury, helped Glasgow stun the home crowd at Allianz Park by coming into the line-up to set up the first try of the match for Ali Price.

Fly-half Adam Hastings, the son of Scotland great Gavin, added the difficult conversion.

But Saracens were soon level when Goode’s high kick was regathered near Glasgow’s posts by Williams, again showing the aerial ability that helped Wales complete a Six Nations Grand Slam.

Lozowski converted and his penalty made it 10-7. Glasgow’s defence cracked again in the 26th minute.

After a charge by England No 8 Billy Vunipola, George’s excellent cut-out released Strettle, who dived in at the right corner.

Saracens were soon 22-7 ahead.

George, with a cleverly delayed pass worthy of a playmaking back, allowed Lozowski to send in Barritt for a try his fellow centre converted.

Two Hastings penalties cut Saracens’ interval lead to 22-13 but there was no miracle second-half comeback for Glasgow as there had been for Scotland in a 38-38 draw against England at Twickenham a fortnight ago, where they came from 31-0 behind.

Lozowski kicked another penalty and Williams, taking the ball at pace, after a ruck near Glasgow’s line set up by George, then had his second try.

Saracens put the result beyond doubt with two more tries, Strettle scoring on the intercept before George powered over.

© – AFP 2018

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