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Saracens don’t want to take chances with Owen Farrell’s fitness in Ospreys Champions Cup clash

Farrell limped out of the closing stages of Saracens’ 36-24 win over Harlequins on Saturday that sealed a Gallagher Premiership semi-final at home.

The talisman fly-half led the game in front of a crowd of 55,000 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, only to spend the final moments icing his left ankle on the bench.

Farrell’s complaint is a recurrence of the injury that threatened his appearance in England’s last Six Nations game against Ireland in Dublin.

The 31-year-old recovered in time to start that 29-16 loss at the Aviva Stadium on March 18 as Ireland sealed the fourth Grand Slam in their history.

Saracens will now assess Farrell’s latest setback earlier this week, leaving him in doubt for Sunday’s European last-16 encounter with the Ospreys at StoneX Stadium.

“We just need to see how much he made it worse,” said director of rugby Mark McCall. “It was a first year forward, which is normally a seven-day turnaround that he managed to make for the week in England, and played that game.

“Whether or not it’s still a grade one, we’ll see, but if it’s more than that, he won’t play. We want to make a good decision on this. It would be great to have it, but if we don’t have it, we will continue. We certainly won’t play him if he’s not right.

Billy Vunipola led Saracens’ charge against a manly but foiled Quins, capping a difficult period out of England’s picture by maintaining club form.

“I know there was an extra level of responsibility I had to take on here when the boys left with England,” Vunipola said. “It’s something I’ve become much more comfortable with.

“Last year I became very selfish and wanted to get back into the England team. But I saw a better way to help others around me, who in turn help me.

“It was very important to park it, to move forward and to help others around me while being an inspiration to others.”

The London Irish entered the top four by beating Northampton 37-22 at Brentford. The Exiles will pull out all the stops for a first play-off campaign since 2009, with boss Declan Kidney happy to be seen as an underdog.

“Nothing is expected of us, we said we would enjoy the journey and take every moment as it comes,” Kidney said.

“I’m sure if you went to one of the betting shops you wouldn’t get a lot of people saying we’ll be in the top four with three games to go, but what about it.”

Sports standard

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