Owen Farrell will be in no mood to marvel at the talents of Danny Cipriani when Saracens meet Wasps in the Premiership play-off semi-final on Saturday.
Farrell could play alongside the 30-year-old maverick playmaker on the summer tour to South Africa but while the abrasive England captain appreciates Cipriani’s talents, there will be no time for any pre-tour bonding at Allianz Park.
‘He is very sharp, is obviously a very talented player and sees space pretty well,’ said Saracens fly-half Farrell.
Owen Farrell will go head to head against Danny Cipriani in the Premiership play-off semi-final
‘He’s a big part of what they do. We’ll obviously have a look at him and try to make sure he doesn’t get opportunities.
‘Same with a lot of other lads in that Wasps back line, they can make something happen out of nothing. As much as you can enjoy watching, you’ve got to make sure you can stop it at the weekend so that is what we are focussing on.’
Like England, Saracens have had to endure a slump in form this season – between early November and Christmas Eve they lost seven matches in a row. Farrell, though, thinks the run was the best thing to happen to the club as they attempt to reach an eighth major final in five seasons.
‘It was a bit unfamiliar,’ he added.
‘We had not been like that for a long time, especially the number of losses we had in a row, but I thought it was a brilliant period for us.
Farrell could play alongside the 30-year-old maverick playmaker on England’s summer tour
‘I don’t think we would in place we now without it.
‘We did a lot figuring out and ironing out, and we have definitely come out the other side better for it.’
Farrell would not speak in detail about England’s summer but admitted it was a ‘massive honour’ to be named captain for the three-Test tour in June, in the absence of Dylan Hartley.
Eddie Jones, when naming the squad last week, voiced concerns over a lack of unity in his ranks during a Six Nations in which England finished fifth.
England head coach Eddie Jones could Farrell will unleash Farrell and Cipriani on summer tour
And the head coach challenged Farrell as skipper to revitalise the squad. The man himself, who went on his first England tour to South Africa six years ago, said the squad will be ready to write the wrongs of recent Tests.
‘This tour is one that we’re going to enjoy,’ he said.
‘South Africa is a brilliant tour, a brilliant challenge. They are a good team that is now coming under some new coaching, so you probably don’t know what you are going to get. The key is to be ready for anything with these big games.
‘We’ll obviously all have to be on the same page coming up to a tough tour. It starts with seeing what probably what we didn’t like seeing in the Six Nations.’