|Saracens (7) 18|
|Tries: Daly, Maitland Con: Farrell Pens: Farrell, Goode Red card: Farrell|
|Wasps (12) 28|
|Try: Willis Con: Gopperth Pens: Gopperth 7|
England captain Owen Farrell was sent off for a high tackle as Saracens fell to a surprise defeat against a much-changed Wasps side at Allianz Park.
The Sarries skipper caught Wasps’ Charlie Atkinson in the face with his left shoulder in the 61st minute, with the match poised at 15-15.
The visitors were able to press home their man advantage, Tom Willis powering over to give them a cushion.
And in his 100th game for Wasps, Jimmy Gopperth was flawless with the boot.
The veteran New Zealander kicked 23 points, with Saracens players showing their frustration long before Farrell’s indiscretion.
The hosts, on paper, named a much stronger side than their opponents, and it looked ominous for Wasps when former fan favourite Elliot Daly ran in a third-minute try against his old club.
But instead of pushing on Saracens stuttered, with Gopperth kicking four penalties as Lee Blackett’s side made the most of the home side’s indiscipline to hold a 12-7 half-time lead.
There was a feeling that Mark McCall’s Sarries would eventually overpower their less experienced opponents and it seemed that way until fly-half Farrell was red-carded, with Sean Maitland going in on the left after a free-flowing move to temporarily put them in front.
After Farrell’s dismissal Wasps were able to build pressure and the consistency of Gopperth’s kicking meant they did not need to fear a late Sarries onslaught as they backed up their impressive win at Bath last time out to consolidate their position in the Premiership’s top four.
Is Farrell facing lengthy ban?
After being given his marching orders by referee Christophe Ridley, Farrell stood at the side of the pitch until Atkinson was able to walk off – offering his hand in apology.
But with Saracens’ Champions Cup quarter-final against Leinster in just two weeks’ time, it is likely that the already-relegated Premiership side will be without their talisman.
The club, and Farrell, face a nervous wait to hear the extent of his punishment.
The incident certainly overshadowed Alex Goode’s 300th Saracens appearance, as he became only the fourth player to reach the milestone for the London club.
‘Owen’s physical but he didn’t mean it’ – match reaction
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:
“I watched it [Farrell’s tackle] live but have not watched it on the video. He was chasing his own kick and was desperate to make a tackle and clearly got it wrong and he got his red card.
“It is what it is. He could easily have been out of the Leinster game for another reason – injury or whatever.
“We have got plenty of good backs at the club so we will just rearrange our back line a little bit and get on with it.”
Wasps head coach Lee Blackett:
“Charlie [Atkinson] is up and talking. You know Owen, he is physical but he didn’t mean it.
“We know Owen is not that type of player – he plays on the edge but genuinely never goes over that edge. He got that slightly wrong.
“It was Jimmy’s 100th appearance for us. We joined at the same time and he has been incredible for us over the last five years.
“He’d led us really well. It doesn’t really matter where you play him.”
Saracens: Goode; Lewington, Daly, Barritt (capt), Maitland; Farrell, Davies; Barrington, George, Koch, Itoje, Swinson, Rhodes, Wray, B Vunipola.
Replacements: Pifeleti, Crean, Clarey, Hunter-Hill, Reffell, Whiteley, Morris, Obatoyinbo.
Wasps: Miller; Odogwu, De Jongh, Le Bourgeois, Bassett; Gopperth (capt); Vellacott; B Harris, Cruse, Alo, Rowlands, Cardall, Willis, Morris, Vailanu.
Replacements: TJ Harris, McIntyre, Owlett, Vukasinovic, Curran, Wolstenholme, Atkinson, Simonds.