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Outgoing Sarries players not thinking it's over - Farrell

Owen Farrell
Follow coverage of Northampton Saints v Saracens in the Premiership semi-final at Cinch Stadium on Friday at 19:45 BST on BBC 5 Sports Extra and BBC Local Radio [Getty Images]

Saracens' players are looking forward to the challenge of facing Northampton Saints for a place in the Premiership final, "not thinking it's all over" says captain Owen Farrell.

The former England skipper is one of a number of experienced players who will leave the club at the end of the season when he moves to French side Racing 92.

Saracens have won six Premiership titles and three European Champions Cups in an era of unprecedented success at the north London club since Farrell made his debut in 2008.

The Men in Black are the reigning league champions and are gearing up for their 13th Premiership semi-final in 15 seasons when they face Northampton on Friday night for a place in Twickenham's grand final.

Speaking ahead of the game, Farrell was keen to play down the importance of the match to the individual players leaving the club.

"It's more a big week for the club. I don't think this defines anything for anyone personally here, it's more we want to get the best out of what's in front of us now - that's all we’re focusing on," he told BBC Sport London.

"It's a good challenge ahead of us this weekend so one we should be looking forward to, not one where we could be thinking it's all over."

From left, Billy and Mako Vunipola and Owen Farrell with a mascot, representing England at the 2019 World Cup in Japan
Billy and Mako Vunipola and Owen Farrell played for England at the 2019 World Cup in Japan [Getty Images]

Fly-halves Louie Johnson from Newcastle Falcons and Fergus Burke from New Zealand-based Crusaders will arrive at StoneX Stadium next season as the club prepares for life without Farrell.

The fly-half has won 112 caps for England and has made 255 appearances for Saracens since his debut in 2008.

The last of those was a 20-10 shock home defeat by Sale Sharks which consigned Sarries to a fourth-placed finish in the table, having gone into the game knowing a win would have guaranteed a home semi-final.

Billy, Mako and Manu Vunipola are all also set to leave the club at the end of the season.

In what is the end of an era for Saracens, Alex Lewington and Sean Maitland will retire at the end of the season, with Dom Morris also leaving the club.

Since director of rugby Mark McCall joined Saracens, first as a coach, in 2009, the only times the team has not been involved in the post-season play-offs were in 2019-20 and 2020-21, when the club was relegated for salary cap breaches and spent one season in the Championship.

'This feels like our first semi-final' - McCall

"Although this is our 13th Premiership semi-final since 2010, which is a record we can be tremendously proud of, it feels like the first one," McCall said.

"There's that excitement around the place, that kind of anticipation and I think that’s really good.

"This feels like the first one in a while for three reasons – one, because there are people where it's going to be the last one with us, there are people where it's their first one for us and probably just as a result of some of the challenges and tests that we've been through as a group this year."

Northampton completed a league double over Saracens this season, winning 18-12 at StoneX Stadium in December and 41-30 at Franklin's Gardens in March.

Bath face Sale at the Rec in the other semi-final on Saturday, with the final at Twickenham on 8 June.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall
Mark McCall joined Saracens in 2009 and was named director of rugby in 2011 [Getty Images]