LONDON — Owen Farrell was let off with a warning for an incident during Saracens’ English Premiership final win over Bath at Twickenham on Saturday that his opponents said should have led to a red card.
The Saracens flyhalf came out on top in his personal No. 10 duel with England rival George Ford as his club won 28-16 to lift the trophy in the final at Twickenham on Saturday.
Farrell’s 18-point haul, including a fine opening try, inspired Saracens to victory over Bath and to their second English Premiership title triumph.
However, it was overshadowed by his high tackle on Bath’s Anthony Watson, which ended his England team-mate’s involvement after just two minutes, the full-back going off with concussion.
Farrell faced a potential suspension ranging from two to 10 weeks but the Rugby Football Union said yesterday he had received the much lesser punishment of a warning by the citing commissioneer for a dangerous tackle.
The threshold for such a warning is greater than a yellow card but “narrowly fails” the red card test required for a full citing, the RFU said.
The penalty is the equivalent to a post-match foul play yellow card, three of which would result in the player being subject to a disciplinary proceeding.
However, Farrell has not received enough foul play yellow cards or citing commissioner warnings to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
After the match, Farrell was adamant he had not meant to hurt Watson.
“There was no intention from me. I feel bad that Anthony had to go off and that was his part in the game. He was pretty down about it and I apologised to him. I am not a dirty player. Things like that happen in rugby.”
On being named man of the match and outshining Ford, he said: “It wasn’t about me and George. It was about Saracens winning the title.
“We have finished top and come away with nothing the past couple of years.
“This time we finished fourth and have won the trophy. So it was different. We wanted to do it for the mates around us and for the fans. We wanted it so badly it is just relief.
“After finishing the season on a high the lads can go away now, reflect on this success and then look ahead at joining up for the training camp. Everybody will be keen and excited to get stuck into it.
“I am going into the camp to become a better player. To get stuck into it and be the best I can be, and do my best for my team. I am honoured to be involved.”
Bath coach Mike Ford, George’s father, certainly felt Farrell deserved to be punished at the time for his hit on Watson.
“I thought it was a red card. It was an illegal challenge which hit Anthony square on the nose,” said Ford. But he [Farrell] stays on the field and gets man of the match while we lose an influential player.
“What happened was a big concern. I’ve spoken to the referee Wayne Barnes about it and he said perhaps he should have taken a stronger look at it again.”
Saracens’ director of rugby Mark McCall refused to be dragged into the affair.