Farrell junior turning into real hot-shot

With his dad, Andy Farrell, already booked on the British & Irish Lions tour as an assistant coach, England outside half Owen Farrell is doing all he can not to be left out of the 125th anniversary tour this summer. [more]

Farrell junior turning into real hot-shot

With his dad, Andy Farrell, already booked on the British & Irish Lions tour as an assistant coach, England outside half Owen Farrell is doing all he can not to be left out of the 125th anniversary tour this summer.

When the plane heads for Hong Kong for the opening game against the Barbarians at the Hong Kong Stadium on Saturday, 1 June, it is looking increasingly likely that Farrell’s senior and junior could be sat side by side.

Since being given a starting role in the England No 10 jersey this season, Owen has guided England to successive wins over New Zealand, Scotland and Ireland and scored 47 points at an average of more than 15 points per game.

His precision goal kicking, allied to his remarkably cool rugby brain for a player who is still only 21, has marked him out as one of the leading contenders for the coveted outside half role. Where Cliff Morgan, Bev Risman, Richard Sharp, Barry John, Phil Bennett, Rob Andrew and Jonny Wilkinson have gone before, now the Saracens star is striving to follow.

The England victory over the world champion All Blacks saw Farrell pick up 23 points in a famous 38-21 triumph as he knocked over all six penalties, converted one fo the three tries and added a drop goal for good measure.

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He followed up his 77.8% goal kicking accuracy in that game with an even high figure in the opening day win over Scotland in the 2013 RBS 6 Nations as he landed seven out of eight kicks for an 18 point contribution in the 38-18 victory at Twickenham. He kicked all four penalties and converted three of England’s four tries.

In a wind and rain swept Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Sunday he was a match-winner once again as he kicked four out of six penalty attempts to score all of England’s points in a 12-6 win that took them two thirds of the way to a potential first Triple Crown since 2003.

"If you practice enough, it's only another kick. You've kicked hundreds of them so it's no different when you're in a stadium,” said Farrell after the win in Dublin.

" I was unbelievably excited to come over here and get stuck into this game. The conditions weren't great but we rolled our sleeves up and got stuck in."

"The weather wasn't great. It's the little things that help you along. It was a brutal game and all credit to the lads because they just got stuck in."

The match had been billed as a shoot-out between Ireland’s No 10 superstar Jonathan Sexton and Farrell in front of Lions head coach Warren Gatland. But Sexton limped out of the action with a hamstring strain before he was able to take a shot at goal and Farrell came out on top.

"Credit to Owen Farrell for kicking his goals, but from one minute to 80 the squad were top notch. We tightened the game up, ran down the clock and had to be smart,” said England skipper Chris Robshaw.

"Farrell is brilliant at the moment. He's got a great repertoire of skills, but he's got a great team around him who keep pushing him to get better. We're not going to get carried away."

Farrell and his on-fire England team have two matches at home in rounds three and four of the championship. France are up first with Italy to follow. Then they will march on Cardiff for the Triple Crown showdown with Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

That game on Saturday, 16 March, could not only decide the destination of the major trophies in this season’s RBS 6 Nations, but could also be key to determining who cements their places in the Lions squad. Wales’ 16-6 win in Paris finally ended their run of eight successive defeats, while Scotland posted their biggest win in the 6 Nations with a four try, 34-10 victory over Italy.
 

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