Owen Farrell and Alex Lozowski for Saracens

Premiership: Farrell escapes red card before winning Saracens game

Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell was lucky to escape a red card against Gloucester before netting a game-winning drop-goal to give his side a 19-16 Premiership victory.

The three-pointer in the dying embers of the match saw Farrell and Saracens claim a narrow victory at Kingsholm on Friday, but he was lucky to be on the pitch.

A few minutes earlier, the England international contacted the head of Gloucester striker Jack Clement, but the TMO and referee failed to spot the offense within the time limit as the tackle took place several phases before the officials brought it to light.

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Farrell had endured a miserable night with his goal kick, missing four shots on goal from six attempts, including three around the Gloucester 22-yard line.

But he found strength when it mattered as Saracens moved 14 points clear at the Premiership summit.

Farrell, however, could face an anxious wait after that shoulder-high challenge at five minutes an hour could still attract the attention of the citing commissioner.

England kick off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland at Twickenham on February 4.

Farrell threw two penalties, while winger Max Malins and scrum-half Ivan van Zyl scored tries, but his counterpart Santiago Carreras had an 80% success rate, picking up three penalties and a conversion from the winger Ollie Thorley’s first half try.

Former Newcastle hooker George McGuigan made his first start for Gloucester but the West Country club were without a number of injured players including winger Louis Rees-Zammit, fly-half Adam Hastings, hooker Santiago Socino and lock Alex Craig.

Saracens showed six changes from the side that crushed Exeter last weekend, including the first starts of the season for center Duncan Taylor and scrum-half Aled Davies, while winger Alex Lewington made his 100th appearance.

New England boss Steve Borthwick and Red Rose defensive coach Kevin Sinfield watched as Saracens pressured from the kick-off.

Prop Mako Vunipola grazed the try after flanker Ben Earl charged from a lineout, and the visitors broke through the Gloucester defense with a seventh-minute touchdown for Malins.

Saracens were brimming with authority, but Gloucester rocked them with an impressive response.

Number eight Ben Morgan was denied a try after Gloucester forwards went close range after referee Karl Dickson ruled McGuigan executed a false lineout throw.

But Gloucester struck on their next attack as Thorley showed blistering pace as he made two tackles on a 50-yard run to the line, and Carreras’ conversion made it 7-5.

A Farrell penalty sent Saracens ahead, only for Carreras to restore Gloucester’s lead, but the England fly-half struck again two minutes before the break and secured a one-point advantage at the interval. .

Gloucester, meanwhile, were forced into a switch as full-back Lloyd Evans left action injured, with Tom Seabrook replacing him.

Accessory Val Rapava-Ruskin also left injured but Gloucester showed no signs of being upset as a Carreras penalty made it 13-11 five minutes into the second half.

Carreras was then hindered by Saracens full-back Alex Goode after being cleared – Goode was shown a yellow card – only for the fly-half to miss the resulting penalty from just 20 yards out.

Farrell’s precision also let him down, however, hitting a post with a close-range penalty attempt and then drifting another direct chance as Saracens tried to regain the initiative after Goode returned.

And they claimed a second try 14 minutes from time after Farrell’s spot-kick sent uncertainty through the Gloucester defence, before a deft handling move saw Van Zyl go wide.

Farrell missed the conversion one night to forget the tee for him, and Saracens led by three points going into the knockout stages.

But another Carreras penalty leveled things up eight minutes from time, before Farrell kept his cool under intense pressure, and Saracens could celebrate an 11th league win from 12 starts this season.

READ MORE: England: Nick Evans joins Steve Borthwick’s staff before the Six Nations

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