Owen Farrell is steeling his Saracens teammates for their Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster by adopting Johnny Sexton’s role in training this week. Farrell is suspended for Saturday’s match in Dublin but the Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, has revealed how the England captain is still playing a crucial role in his side’s preparation.

Leinster – unbeaten since losing last season’s European final defeat to Saracens – were heavy favourites this weekend even before Farrell’s five-week ban for a dangerous tackle was confirmed last week but while he cannot line up at the Aviva Stadium, the star outhalf is leading the opposition attack in training.

Alex Goode is emerging as the favourite to wear the No 10 jersey against Leinster, though Saracens could yet turn to the 20-year-old Manu Vunipola, while Farrell is likely to assume water-boycarrier duties during the match. Sexton – well known to Farrell from two British & Irish Lions tours together – was rested for Leinster’s Pro14 final win over Ulster on Saturday but is set to slot back in return at outhalf.

“[Owen is] running the opposition against us, running some of Leinster’s plays, so he’ll be a huge help to us this week,” said McCall, whose side have chartered a private flight to Dublin on Friday. “He just wants to help. He regrets the situation he finds himself in but now he just wants to help the team as much as he can.

“We’ve got two choices – to move [Alex] Goode up to flyhalf and play Elliot [Daly] at fullback or stick Manu [Vunipola] in there. The core of the 23 will be identifiable as a team who have played a lot of knockout rugby over the last five years. The core is very strong.”



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