Owen Farrell: Saracens fly-half makes Anthony Watson apology

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport at Twickenham
Owen Farrell
Anthony Watson could only watch on as Owen Farrell crossed to open the scoring, before the Bath full-back had to be withdrawn

Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell has apologised for the high tackle that ended Anthony Watson's Premiership final early in the first half.

Bath head coach Mike Ford said Farrell should have been sent off for the tackle on 21-year-old full-back Watson.

Farrell, 23, went on to inspire Sarries to victory as they claimed their second Premiership title at Twickenham.

"I apologised to him after the game and told him there was no intent," Farrell told BBC Sport. "He was pretty down."

The England fly-half was named man of the match and contributed 18 points to his side's 28-16 victory over Bath, 12 months after they were beaten by Northampton Saints in the final.

"I feel bad that Ant had to go off but there was no intent from me and there never would be in that situation," said Farrell.

Owen Farrell and Anthony Watson
Owen Farrell apologised to England team-mate Anthony Watson on the field at Twickenham

"I'm not that type of player. Things like this happen in rugby."

Ford, whose Bath side have not won a top-flight title since 1996, said Watson had recovered from the heavy challenge after the game but bemoaned losing one of his star players, while Farrell received no punishment.

When asked if he thought the tackle should have been punished with a red card, Ford replied: "I did."

He added: "It was an illegal challenge square on the nose and we lost one of our best players. The other guy stayed on and got man of the match."

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall said he had not seen the incident again so declined to comment, instead choosing to pay tribute to his number 10, who will be competing with Bath fly-half George Ford for a spot in England's World Cup team.

"He is a big-game player and has proved that down the years," said McCall. "England are blessed to have two brilliant young 10s.

Saracens celebrate
Saracens were playing in their fourth Premiership final in the space of six years

"I know he is rated very highly by Stuart Lancaster [England head coach] and we are delighted he came back at the right time for us."

McCall said last season's final loss was painful, but said he was "thrilled" to seal victory. "It's been an up-and-down year but I thought our first-half performance was pretty special," he said.

Ford hailed his squad after they reached their first Premiership final since 2004.

"This team is going to win trophies for a long time," he said. "This just adds to our belief. Small margins. We are really, really close.

"We are proud of what we have done and are proud of the players."