Saracens coach 'delighted' by Farrell's return from injury
Owen Farrell's return from four months out injured left Saracens supremo Mark McCall "delighted" after the regular England captain starred in a 27-23 Premiership win over Bristol on Saturday.
Fly-half Farrell, who can also play at centre, missed all of England's lacklustre Six Nations campaign after undergoing ankle surgery.
But despite a lengthy spell on the sidelines, he kicked 12 points and was also a central figure in open play for north London side Saracens during a match played at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
"He (Farrell) was at the heart of it, he place-kicked very well, he ran the attack brilliantly and I thought he defended well during the game," said McCall.
"I'm delighted with him and he'll just get better from here. His best games will be ahead of him, but he was pretty good today."
Saracens' third league win in a row also featured two tries from England wing Max Malins.
It left them second in the table, behind leaders Leicester, with the top four at the end of the regular season qualifying for the title-deciding play-offs.
Malins' England team-mate Sam Underhill was also in try-scoring form, the flanker going over twice in bottom-of-the-table Bath's dramatic 24-24 draw with Sale just 48 hours after returning from his sister's wedding in the United States.
"Sam on his day is as good as anything in world rugby," said Bath coach Neal Hatley.
"He hasn't played a lot of rugby this season. He's had a few bumps, a little bit of concussion, so he's coming back into it."
Hatley added: "He's a ridiculously talented rugby player and to show power five or six metres out for his two tries was phenomenal and he showed great enthusiasm to scramble back and attack the ball."
Sale would would have won had South Africa's Faf de Klerk been on target with a last-minute penalty but director of rugby Alex Sanderson refused to blame the World Cup-winning scrum-half for the defeat.
"You can go back to the kick, can't you, but it was all about the thousands of incidents that happened before that," he said.
Northampton boss Chris Boyd praised the impact of returning Test captains Courtney Lawes (England) and Dan Biggar (Wales) following the Six Nations after the duo starred in a 42-22 win over London Irish.
"Courtney didn't come in until Thursday, he had a couple of days with his family, but he came back in and you very seldom get a bad day out of Courtney," said Boyd following a match where the Saints scored 42 unanswered points.
"Dan Biggar was in on Tuesday and rolled his sleeves up and got straight back.
"They contributed much the same as a number of other people but coming back from international duty, they put in a pretty good shift."
Elsewhere, Jimmy Gopperth's late penalty secured a 27-24 win for Wasps over Newcastle, the veteran fly-half's former club.