Owen Farrell has spoken of his admiration for Mark McCall and insisted the consistency of “the boss” alongside his coaching team is the reason Saracens are attempting to become English champions for a sixth time in 11 years.
The StoneX Stadium side face Leicester at Twickenham on Saturday looking to end their first season back in the Gallagher Premiership with more silverware.
Relegation two years ago for repeated breaches of salary cap regulations was meant to be the end of a trophy-laden era for Sarries, who have won five league titles and three European crowns since McCall was appointed director of rugby back in 2011.
Instead, the experienced Northern Irishman managed to keep the squad together – despite the prospect of dropping into the Championship – and is now on the brink of a further prize at the home of English rugby.
Farrell, who kicked Saracens to a maiden 2011 title success as a teenager under McCall, reflected: “You talk about people you trust, that dialogue is pretty constant.
“It is an open door as well so that is a relationship that has grown throughout that time.
“He is the boss, yeah. That is always going to be the case. That is his role and I feel like we are at a place where we can be honest with each other and be open.
“We obviously both just want the best for the team. It doesn’t mean you have to agree about everything but he is the boss!
“One thing I would say about our coaching team and while I feel we have grown as a team over the course of that time since 2010, they have been unbelievably constant and unbelievably consistent in the way they are.
“They have been unbelievably consistent in the way we play and how games are won, how the big games are won. Although you try to grow within that framework and try to better yourselves constantly, which I feel like we have done, they have still stuck to that and that has put us in good stead.
“I think we have consistently grown while staying good at what we’re good at and that can be a difficult thing.”
The man who stands in the way of Saracens sitting at the top of English rugby again is their old captain Steve Borthwick.
Ex-England coach Borthwick has turned around Leicester since he decided to quit working for Eddie Jones in favour of a big rebuilding job at Welford Road.
When he was appointed in 2020, Tigers had only maintained their Premiership status due to the relegation of shamed Sarries and now they go head-to-head for the title this weekend.
“Finding myself as a young lad in the team, he was obviously captaining the team, steering the team and that coach I saw on the field,” Farrell said of Borthwick.
“Not just that but working with him as a coach with England and seeing how good a job he was doing at that, it was obvious how well he would do at Leicester when he got that job.
“It is no surprise to see them where they are now.”
Back in the Sarries black and red last weekend, the 30-year-old looked at his best in a fiery derby victory over Harlequins.
It sent Saracens into the Premiership final for an eighth time since 2011 but given everything that has gone on with the salary cap scandal, the coronavirus pandemic and relegation, this one means more to a squad used to silverware.
Captain Farrell added: “I guess over the last couple of years it has been a bit different as well for us so it makes us as a group appreciate it and there is an excitement around the place.
“There are people who have been there and done it before but we’ve spent a bit of time away and come back to have a good year so far.
“There are also people who it will be their first final and they are unbelievably excited about getting out there and taking it all in.
“I am sure it will be a good game and we’ll see what happens.”