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Kickers earn the plaudits
Farrell and Burns star in Vicarage Road draw
Saracens rugby director Mark McCall hailed Owen Farrell as a player with the qualities of the very best goal-kickers after the draw with Gloucester at Vicarage Road.
And Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath spoke in similarly glowing terms of Freddie Burns after a match in which all the points came from penalties.
The fly-half pair ensured the tussle finished 15-15, with the spectacle far better than the wet conditions at Vicarage Road should have allowed.
Saracens were two minutes from victory when referee Sean Davey penalised them for collapsing a driving maul, and Burns delivered a draw-earning kick in the downpour.
Farrell, 20, and Burns, 21, gave mature performances, both scoring five penalties.
McCall said of Farrell: "The remarkable thing is that Owen rarely misses two kicks at goal in a row. When he misses, the next attempt usually goes over which is the sign of a top-class kicker.
"He did a very good job in very difficult conditions, and while we were always on top, we were unable to pull away from them."
McCall was also delighted with full-back Alex Goode, one of a number of young England-qualified talents being watched from the soaking sidelines by England's interim head coach Stuart Lancaster.
"Alex was tremendous, in my opinion back to his best and posed a definite threat with his strong carrying and running," McCall said.
"There were always going to be errors in such difficult conditions and both side made them.
"Burns also kicked very well, but when you add up those errors they tend to prevent you building momentum."
McCall was willing to discuss rumours that Northampton and England wing Chris Ashton has been linked with the club - but not beyond acknowledging the player's attributes.
McCall said: "Ashton is an outstanding player who will clearly get better and better the more he plays.
"But we are linked to a number of players on a regular basis, so if and when we have news of something we will let it be known."
Saracens lost Schalk Brits shortly after the former Springbok hooker had come on for Jamie George.
McCall said: "He took a bang on the shoulder he hurt at Twickenham, right on the same spot. We'll know more later in the week."
Redpath is convinced Burns will soon be the finished article in fly-half terms.
"Freddie is maturing in terms of steering the team and running a game," Redpath said.
"I am delighted with the way he coped with the conditions and kicked his goals.
"He is learning that the team's performance is more important than his own. He sometimes tries to do things on his own but he is learning with every game.
"I'll take the points because we were never ahead in the game and it's a good away result."
|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com