Farrell grateful to 'special' Saracens

Owen Farrell applauds
Captain Owen Farrell played through injury as Saracens lost to Northampton Saints in his final appearance for the club [Getty Images]

Owen Farrell said he was grateful to have been at "special" Saracens for 16 years, as he prepares to leave the club.

The former England captain played through injury in the side's 22-20 defeat by Northampton Saints on Friday.

The Premiership semi-final loss was his 256th and final appearance for the club before he moves to Racing 92 next season.

Farrell won seven league titles, including six in the Premiership, and three European Champions Cups at StoneX Stadium.

"It's going to be strange not being with some of these lads next year and I'm sure this team's got a massive future ahead of it," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"I've loved it, thank you for making my family's time here so special.

"This past couple of weeks, since the Sale game at home, has probably made me look back more than ever. I just look back at it so fondly and am so grateful to have been at a special place for this long."

'Farrell and Vunipolas legends of England and Saracens' - Itoje

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall revealed after the defeat Farrell had suffered a quad injury on Monday and he was not sure whether he would be able to play at Franklin's Gardens.

The skipper played the full match but handed over kicking responsibilities to full-back Elliot Daly and played "on one leg", McCall said.

Farrell played down the significance of the injury, calling it a "little knock".

Saracens made a bright start to the match but were soon usurped by the Premiership's top team this season.

Lucio Cinti's 78th-minute try set up a tense finish but the Men in Black ultimately fell just short of reaching the final at Twickenham.

Farrell's move to French side Racing 92 this summer coincides with the exits of Mako, Billy and Manu Vunipola and the retirements of Alex Lewington and Sean Maitland.

England lock and long-time Sarries team-mate Maro Itoje called Mako and Billy Vunipola and Farrell "legends of the game".

"They're legends of England, they're legends of Saracens, they're some of the best rugby players to grace the pitch, one of the most successful trios to have played the game," he said.

"It's a shame we couldn't finish it off the way we wanted to for them, but as a team-mate watching them do their stuff over the past decade or so has been a pleasure and they have a strong legacy in the game."

Mako Vunipola, left, and Billy Vunipola, right
Mako Vunipola joined Saracens in 2011 before brother Billy, right, signed for the club two years later [Rex Features]