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Saracens 9-9 Leicester Tigers, Aviva Premiership
McCall backs misfiring Farrell
ESPN Staff
September 15, 2012
Saracens' Steve Borthwick consoles Owen Farrell after a missed attempt at the sticks, Saracens v Leicester Tigers, Aviva Premiership, Wembley, London, September 15, 2012
Sarries skipper Steve Borthwick consoles Owen Farrell after another missed attempt at the sticks © Getty Images
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Saracens coach Mark McCall leapt to the defence of fly-half Owen Farrell after he laboured from the kicking tee in their 9-9 draw with Leicester at Wembley.

Farrell missed four penalties from five and was eventually hauled off the pitch in the 50th minute. He was replaced by ex-England fly-half Charlie Hodgson who nailed two penalties to draw the game level.

It was Farrell's first start of the season for Sarries and while his rival for the England No.10 shirt Toby Flood fared better from the tee, McCall insists that Farrell will bounce back from his kicking horror show.

"Owen's not had much practice recently," McCall said. "He's had a small groin injury which has stopped him practising as much as usual and it's very rare he has a day like this. He's a magnificent player for us but every man has the odd bad day at the office and I know he has the strength of character to come back.

"He's the sort of player who will use a day like this to bounce back stronger so I'm looking forward to that. I think it's definitely a case of two points dropped here as we missed plenty of opportunities."

It was a dire game at Wembley with try-scoring chances at a premium and McCall was left to rue the two points that got away. McCall said: "We came with the intent to play. If the breakdown isn't policed at all you're going to get a game like that with two teams defending so well. Leicester were penalised at the breakdown but not enough I don't think.

"They were the team hanging on in the last 20 minutes of the match, we were dominant in most areas even if that isn't reflected in the scoreboard."

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