Banned fly-half Owen Farrell simulating No 10 rival Jonny Sexton in training as Saracens prepare to face Irishman’s Leinster in European Cup quarter-final clash at Aviva Stadium
- Owen Farrell won’t feature for Saracens in European quarter-final vs Leinster
- The England captain is banned for five games after a high tackle against Wasps
- The fly-half is simulating Leinster No 10 Jonny Sexton in training to help team
Banned Saracens No 10 Owen Farrell has been simulating Johnny Sexton in training to help his team prepare for their crunch Euro clash with Leinster.
Despite serving a five-week suspension, the England captain will still fly to Dublin on the team’s chartered for Saturday’s quarter-final.
However, he has been helping to lead preparations and is likely take up a touchline role at the Aviva Stadium.
Banned fly-half Owen Farrell has been simulating Jonny Sexton in training to help Saracens
His side face Sexton’s Leinster in a mouth-watering European Cup quarter-final on Saturday
‘Owen’s running the opposition against us, running some of Leinster’s plays, so he’ll be a huge help to us this week,’ said Saracens director of rugby Marc McCall. ‘He just wants to help. He regrets the situation he finds himself in but now he just wants to help the team as much as he can.’
Having lost a number of players during the lockdown, Saracens have declared themselves major underdogs for the tie.
Leinster are unbeaten since last year’s final, which they lost to Saracens, but McCall backed rookie No 10 Manu Vunipola to fill in for Farrell if required.
‘We’ve got two choices: to move Alex Goode up to fly-half and play Elliot Daly at fullback, or put Manu in there,’ said McCall.. ‘Manu’s showed all year that when we’ve given him a new challenge he has dealt with it. We have a lot of faith in him. We’ll make that decision later in the week.’
The England captain will not feature after receiving a five-match ban for a high tackle
Meanwhile, Northampton are facing a prop shortage crisis ahead of their quarter-final against Exeter on Sunday.
The Saints have lost four looseheads – Alex Waller, Nick Auterac, Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi and Francois van Wyk – to injury, leaving 19-year-old Emmanuel Iyogun as their only option.
Teams are required to name cover on the bench, however EPCR’s deadline to register new players has closed.
‘It will be a farce if it’s not allowed to happen,’ said one Sportsmail source.
The Irish side haven’t lost since losing to Sarries in last year’s final and won the Pro14
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