• Wasps coach: Farrell didn’t mean it

    Wasps coach Lee Blackett has defended Owen Farrell after the Saracens player was red-carded for a dangerous tackle in Saturday’s Premiership clash.

    Farrell was sent off as Saracens slumped to a surprise 28-18 loss to a much-changed Wasps side at Allianz Park.

    England’s captain charged into Wasps back Charlie Atkinson in the 61st minute of the match, catching the teenager in the face with his left shoulder, leaving referee Christopher Ridley with no option but to produce a red card.

    It is not the first controversial incident that Farrell has been involved in, with the flyhalf escaping punishment for a similarly dangerous no-arms tackle on Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen in 2018.

    To Farrell’s credit, he did apologise to Atkinson once the youngster was able to be removed from the field injured, but there will still be concerns over his tackle technique which was developed in the hard- knocks school of rugby league.

    COLUMN: Farrell finally has to correct tackle technique

    Speaking to the English media after the match, Wasps coach Blackett held nothing personally against Farrell for the tackle and confirmed that Atkinson was fine.

    ‘Charlie [Atkinson] is up and talking. You know Owen, he is physical but he didn’t mean it,’ Blackett said.

    ‘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 is likely to face a lengthy ban for the tackle, meaning that he will miss Saracens’ European Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster in two weeks’ time.

    However, Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said the club would be able to cope without their talismanic playmaker.

    ‘I watched it [Farrell’s tackle] live but have not watched it on the video,’ McCall said. ‘He was chasing his own kick and was desperate to make a tackle and clearly got it wrong and he got his red card.

    ‘It is what it is. He could easily have been out of the Leinster game for another reason, injury or whatever.

    ‘We have got plenty of good backs at the club so we will just rearrange our backline a little bit and get on with it.’

    WATCH: Farrell’s past misdemeanours 

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