Daily Mail

Farrell hits a century

With the skipper set to reach 100 England caps, those close to him reveal what makes him tick…


ON SATURDAY at Twickenham, England captain Owen Farrell will make his 100th appearance for his country after a decade of national service. Over the years, the Saracens playmaker has amassed a phenomenal c.v. as a title-winner with club and country, and a decorated, respected Lion. The 31-year-old has often been a pantomime villain figure for rival teams and supporters due to his fervent intensity, aggression and commitment, but those traits, along with his leadership from a young age, have been highly prized by his coaches and teammates.

Here, those who know his game best pay tribute to England’s Test centurion…


Former England head coach who selected Farrell for his Test debut against Scotland in 2012 When Owen broke through, he had a great knowledge of the game for such a young player and that happens when you are the son of a man who has played the game and then become a coach. he also had a very good all-round skillset and an ability to understand and manage the game.

But what really stood out with Owen was his temperamen­t and his presence. he was not afraid to voice his opinion and lead the team, even as a young player. he provided direction on the field and contribute­d in meetings. It’s an under-appreciate­d skill for players of that age and Owen was always exceptiona­l in that way.

he is ultra- competitiv­e — he understand­s where the line is, but like all great players, he plays right up to the line.

he’s like Johnny Sexton in that way. That’s what makes those guys the players they are.

I haven’t coached Owen for seven years but I’ve watched him evolve and mature as a leader. he is about to reach 100 england caps already and he’s only 31. There’s no reason he can’t play on and on, if that is what he wants to do.

It is his consistenc­y over time which makes him special. he has achieved so much with england, with the Lions, and domestical­ly as well. But Owen would probably hate all the fuss being made about him this week. his humility is one of his greatest attributes.

JOHNNY SEXTON Ireland captain and Lions team-mate in both 2013 and 2017

OWen has been outstandin­g. he’s been an amazing player for england over the years and I suppose you can see how good he is when he’s not there, when he’s been missing. he’s the glue that keeps the team together.

I’ve seen that. I’ve played with him, I’ve been in dressing rooms with him and seen his leadership, which is outstandin­g.

he goes into an even more unique

place now. There are not many english players who have got to 100 caps — only two before him — so it’s an amazing achievemen­t for him. I’ll drop him a line at some stage and say congratula­tions. he’s a great ambassador for that team.

We do keep in touch. We’ve had a few run-ins as well so it’s not as cosy as everyone would think! But he’s a great competitor. I have the utmost respect for him and he’s a guy I’ve looked at closely over the years. I’m lucky enough to have played with him and I’ve tried to take some of his game and put it into my game. My words won’t do him justice.

JAMIE GEORGE Saracens, England and Lions team-mate, and close friend

I’ve had enough stick after calling him Michael Jordan. Genuinely, though, watch The Last Dance. Watch Michael Jordan and that’s him — I promise you. he deserves all the credit he gets.

he has been right at the centre of a lot of the success that england have had over the past few years. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone with the same mindset and desire — not just to get themselves better, but the team, too. he’s in great form at the minute and that means great things for nglish rugby.

I love him. he is an amazing person. he is one of my best friends, he is fascinatin­g and also happens to be an amazing rugby player. he’s a great guy, he’s passionate about what he does and loves playing for england. he’s desperate

for england to be successful and desperate for Saracens to be successful.


Former Saracens team-mate who started at 10 on Farrell’s England debut in 2012

WhaT struck me about Owen was that he was incredibly confident in his mind and ability from a very young age.

he was resilient and wouldn’t mind speaking up. That went against the grain because a lot of young guys just try to blend in and almost do what they’re told.

Owen broke the mould. Playing with him at Saracens and england, it was a nice surprise. he always seemed to take things in his stride. Maybe that was because he had grown up in that arena watching his dad.

he joined a relatively new squad for his debut under Stuart Lancaster and he was one of the leaders from the very start. he was unbelievab­ly confident in his ability and he was doing the goal-kicking at Murrayfiel­d. It was a tight game, the pressure was on,

‘If we don’t have Owen we lose a huge percentage of our fight. He’s one of the all-time greats’

the crowd were on his back and he just dealt with it.

He’s never been shy of work or attitude. He’s always at the front of it and getting to 100 England caps is testament to him. Owen is one of the most competitiv­e people you could meet so I’m not sure why he gets the stick he gets. He’s infectious.

EDDIE JONES England coach speaking after naming his autumn Test squad last month

If we don’t have an Owen in our team, then we lose a huge percentage of our fight. He is the most energetic and one of the most committed rugby players I’ve ever seen. We need that.

You know Owen is the third-highest points scorer in rugby history? He’s one of the all-time greats of the game.

He’s won every trophy in the world apart from the World Cup and he’s got a silver medal from that, which isn’t bad.

Sometimes I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves.

He’s resurrecti­ng his club team Saracens now — they’re back up playing fantastic rugby. We hope we get that Owen in with all that fighting spirit for November.

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Born winner: Farrell leads England to victory over Australia in the 2019 World Cup
GETTY IMAGES Born winner: Farrell leads England to victory over Australia in the 2019 World Cup
 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Rugby genes: with dad Andy after his Test debut in 2012
GETTY IMAGES Rugby genes: with dad Andy after his Test debut in 2012
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