Rookie Farrell ends Venter reign on high and condemns Irish to tenth loss in row


SARACENS boss Brendan Venter predicted a bright future for the club after bringing the curtain down on his tenure as director of rugby in winning style.

Fly-half prodigy Owen Farrell – son of former dual-code star and new Sarries head coach Andy – kicked all the points as Venter’s men climbed to second in the Premiership and inflicted London Irish’s 10th successive defeat.

And Venter, who is staying on as technical director despite moving back to his native South Africa, believes Farrell is just one of the grounds for optimism at the Hertfordshire outfit.

“We have a five-year plan in place, and it is ongoing,” he said. “We have academy players pressing for each position in the team, so it’s not about bringing in some big-name stars, it’s now about the development of the team from within.

“Owen Farrell is going to be special, and that really excites me. We lost a top international fly-half when Derick Hougaard was injured, and along came a teenager of this quality, a very talented boy who is learning to be a Premiership fly-half.”

Glamour signing Gavin Henson only came on for the last five minutes as Saracens ground out a win that knocked the Exiles down to seventh. The clash was level at 6-6 when the teams went in at the break, Farrell and Chris Malone having traded two penalties each, but Farrell struck twice in the second half.

Hodgson to leave Sale amid Sarries rumours
SALE have confirmed that veteran fly-half Charlie Hodgson will leave the club at the end of the season. Hodgson, 30, who joined Sale from university, is in his 11th campaign with the Sharks, but has been linked with a move to Saracens. He said: “Irrespective of what has happened this season at the club I wanted a new challenge elsewhere. I wouldn’t want to hang up my boots wondering whether I should have moved.”