Six Nations 2018: Why England’s Owen Farrell will be extra motivated to defeat Ireland | Rugby Union | Sport


This will be the third time the pair have gone up against each other since Andy Farrell was sacked as defence coach by England after the 2015 World Cup and the scores are locked at 1-1.

Son Owen kicked 11 points in helping to orchestrate a 21-10 win for England at Twickenham two years ago but his dad the last laugh 12 months ago when the English were shut out and slumped to a 13-9 defeat in Dublin.

Round three may not be as visceral as Liam versus Noel Gallagher but the 80-minute spat at Twickenham will pit two of the fiercest competitors in rugby against each other.

Father will not be sparing son when it comes to directing traffic his way; likewise, as sure as there are pies in Wigan, Owen will be doing his damnedest to ruin his father’s dream of a first Grand Slam.

“The assumption is that it will be very intense and physical,” said England flanker James Haskell. “Andy is a world-class coach. Having worked with him at the Lions, England and played with him a bit I know what kind of a guy he is. He is very intense so that is a given.

“From my experience from working with him he always gets his boys on the edge, speaks very well, motivates very well, demands big line speed, big acceleration and physical contact.

“Owen always has intensity and goes about his business like that – you see his physicality. He speaks well too. He is definitely his father’s son, there is no doubt about that. You can see he has inherited that passion and abrasiveness.”

It is a unique professional relationship and one which requires a good deal of understanding to maintain a healthy personal bond.

They were key cogs in the Lions machine which held New Zealand to a drawn series last summer. But on that tour Owen confessed he had found it difficult even to grab a private moment in which to wish Andy Happy Father’s Day.

“I don’t think I’ve spoken to him on this tour as my dad,” he said at the time. “There’s lots of little conversations that go on in making sure that everything’s covered, the basics of the week, and not all of it goes on in meetings and in front of everyone and things like that.

“He might just grab you as you’re walking past or on your computer and just have little chats about what’s coming up and have you thought of this and what would you say in this situation. Just so it’s covered off in your head and then you can move on.

“But there has been no big pep talks. I’ve never had one before so nothing changes.”

Eight months on, back in rival camps, there will be no communication at all between the pair this week.

“I would say it is purely business in mind from what I see in Owen,” said Haskell. “I think everything he does is England-based. I don’t think he gets caught up in the stuff that is outside of it however hard it might be.”

He is, like his father in his own cross-code career, the consummate, driven professional.

The honour of captaining England for the first time last Saturday was submerged beneath the frustration of a second successive defeat.

Back to the drawing board on Wednesday at another punishing training session described by one England player as “minging”, Farrell was setting the standards that England are striving to return to.

Over at Carton House in County Kildare, his father will doing exactly the same for Ireland on Thursday.

Something has to give on Saturday in this battle of a royal rugby bloodline.

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