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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 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale Sharks|
|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 Falcons vs Leicester Tigers|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Bath vs London Irish|
|15:00||Northampton vs Saracens|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com