San­der­son: Far­rell best man to lead us to Ja­pan

The Rugby Paper - - Front Page - By GARY FITZGER­ALD

ED­DIE Jones has been urged to dump Dy­lan Hartley and keep Owen Far­rell as his cap­tain right up to the World Cup.

The Eng­land head coach praised Far­rell for the way he stepped in and led the team on the tour of South Africa, de­spite los­ing the se­ries 2-1.

Be­fore the trip, Jones cast doubts over whether hooker Hartley, 32, would be able to come straight back into the side in the Au­tumn.

The Aussie coach will will not hes­i­tate to turn to the Sara­cens cen­tre again if Hartley, who has spent the sum­mer at home re­cov­er­ing from his Six Na­tions con­cus­sion and pre­par­ing for this month’s wed­ding to fi­ance Joanne, is not ready ei­ther fit­ness or form-wise to start.

Eng­land lost the se­ries to the Spring­boks but as far as Sara­cens coach Alex San­der­son is con­cerned, 26-year-old Far­rell should be given the job full-time. re­gard­less of Hartley’s sit­u­a­tion.

San­der­son ar­gues now is the time to hand over the cap­tain’s ba­ton rather than wait­ing to see if Hartley re­dis­cov­ers his form and fit­ness come Septem­ber.

San­der­son in­sists: “Faz is the right per­son right now. I have grown up with him and I know his par­ents. I know the qual­ity of the in­di­vid­ual.

“I texted Faz a few times

while he was over there and since he came back.

“I felt he did a bril­liant job. He was chang­ing cul­tures and it can be dif­fi­cult just to jump straight into that role and get ev­ery­one singing off the same hymn sheet straight away.”

San­der­son adds: “Far­rell, below, is not our cap­tain at Sar­ries but he is a big, big leader for us. See­ing how he led the lads in the back half of the sea­son, I have no doubts he is the best man for the Eng­land job.

“Be­ing cap­tain of his coun­try, with the added re­spon­si­bil­ity for the rest of the team and how it per­forms on the field, would also make him a bet­ter player. We’ve all seen it. He is so com­pet­i­tive, driven and ag­gres­sive some­times that spills over into his game. You have got to be pre­pared to play on the edge and bot­tle it up at the same time. Those are traits of a great player. “As cap­tain he would have to tem­per that to bring other peo­ple with him. And that is a skill he is get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter at. His main frus­tra­tion is mak­ing sure those around him are on the same level of per­for­mance and com­mit­ment as he is on the field.

“No mat­ter how it comes across on the TV he is do­ing ev­ery­thing for the right rea­sons. He is do­ing it to drive the team.”

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