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Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall believes fly-half Charlie Hodgson is among the best in Europe
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has poured praise on his fly-half Charlie Hodgson who he says is “one of the best passers in Europe”.
The former England number 10, who has shared his spot this season with Owen Farrell as part of the club’s rotation policy, has been in scintillating form of late.
The 31-year-old took Farrell’s place at fly-half against London Welsh and since that match Saracens have scored 103 points in three games, of which Hodgson has notched 68.
McCall said: “He’s playing pretty well Charlie - he’s playing some great rugby and he’s playing with a lot of freedom.
“Everybody knows Charlie’s strengths. He’s one of the best passers of the ball in Europe and he’s playing outstandingly well at the moment.
“He was great against Edinburgh and he was great against Racing. He’s playing really well right now.”
Hodgson retired from international rugby after England’s summer tour of South Africa, a decision some have suggested now appears premature given his recent performances.
The former Sale player found himself behind Farrell and Toby Flood in the pecking order against the Springboks and decided to hang up his international boots on 38 caps.
But Saracens and England full-back Alex Goode believes England’s loss is the Men in Black’s gain.
"It’s not for me to say if Charlie retired too early. He’s got a family and he’s playing his best rugby for a while now,” Goode said.
“I’m just glad he can dedicate himself 100 per cent to Saracens because whenever he’s played this year he’s shown what a player he is.
“Charlie’s been the best ten in the Premiership for the last ten, 15 years – he’s just a class player who knows how to play rugby very well, he knows when to play and when not to play.
“We all know how good his passing is and how he can throw 30 metre passes everywhere but his kicking against Racing was fantastic - just when we were losing a bit of grip he spiralled the ball ten yards from their line and put pressure on their pack.
“He’s just a world-class player and it’s great to have him on board.”
In the five matches when Hodgson has started at fly-half this season, Saracens have scored 14 tries whilst the Men in Black failed to score one in the three games that Farrell started there, although those matches did come against superior opposition.
Mark McCall has played Hodgson and Farrell together at times this season, with the latter stepping in at centre.
But the Sarries boss insists Farrell should play fly-half for England and suggested he will start there for Saracens this weekend too, against Northampton.
“I think internationally Owen’s future is at 10 and I think he will play for us against Northampton at 10 as well. We’ll have to see.”
At fly-half Hodgson Farrell
Games started 5 3
Team tries 14 0
Individual tries 2 0
Successful conversions 12 0
Successful penalties 25 11
Total individual points 109 33
Percentage of team points 66% 85%