Rugby: Farrell puts aside family ties

Andy Farrell insists he will have no problem putting family ties to one side when it comes to deciding whether his son Owen makes England's starting team against Scotland.

Rugby News: Andy and Owen Farrell

Farrell is part of the interim England management team, assistant coach to Stuart Lancaster, and 20-year-old Owen is one of the most exciting young rugby talents to have emerged in recent years.

The Farrells have both been experiencing their first senior England training camp over the last four days at West Park RUFC just outside Leeds, and both insist that the father-son relationship has been left behind at home.

Farrell senior, also head coach at Saracens where Owen plays at centre or fly-half, said: "As a coaching group we will make the right call for this group and that's the only way to do it.

"We will discuss what's right for our philosophy of play and how we want to play and we'll pick a team accordingly.

"It's good when you get home to be a father again and talk rugby with your son but when you get to the club or the England Six Nations camp he's a player that I coach just like the rest of the players and that is how it has been from day one," added Andy.

"Owen was in the academy when I first started coaching and we don't know any different.

"I have not even had a chance to talk to him at this camp so far. We have been here four days and we have had a lot to do so I have not had a chance to talk to him other than rugby, and I suppose that is the way it will be until Scotland."

Owen Farrell said there has never been a problem with being coached by his dad, a legend in rugby league for Wigan and Great Britain before he switched codes late in his career.

"I forget about that he's my dad, definitely," he said.

"Even when he wasn't a coach and he came and watched me play and talked to me after the game about what I had done right and done wrong, it wasn't any normal dad speaking to you.

"He has had massive experience so you massively respect what he says.

"I'm not trying to live up to what he has done either. I'm my own player, I take things from what he has done in the past and I've tried to learn from what he has done and ask him questions and that has stood me in good stead."

Away from rugby the Farrells are fiercely competitive, whether it is table tennis, pool or golf. Andy insists his son has yet to triumph at table tennis.

"He's not as competitive as his dad - he has yet to beat me at table tennis that's for sure."

Owen responded: "I don't know where that has come from - I'm better than him."

For Farrell senior, his England role gives him a chance to make up for a playing career that ended after eight caps due to injury - he is still only aged 36.

"My playing career didn't go quite as swimmingly as I would have liked as far as union is concerned so it was part of the reason why I wanted to get back into it," he said.

"But the main part was to come back and enjoy the experience.

"It was all planned out to do a good few years but with injuries and so on it didn't go according to plan so to get another chance to be involved in the international scene in as big a competition as the Six Nations is great.

"I wouldn't say I had unfinished business - it's just a great environment to be in, it's the top of the tree and it doesn't get much better than the Six Nations.

"It's a Grand Final every single week: sold-out stadiums, unbelievable atmospheres, brilliant players all going at it and I think everybody wants to be a part of that."



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