British & Irish Lion Owen Farrell’s performance in Saturday’s Premiership final could be make or break for the Saracens star’s World Cup dreams, according to England team-mate Danny Cipriani.
Having returned from the Australia tour in 2013 as a victorious British & Irish Lion, Farrell led his club to both a domestic and European final the following year and seemed untouchable in an England shirt.
But a knee injury sustained in January has seriously limited his playing opportunities this season, and Farrell was forced to watch on as Bath’s George Ford impressed for the Red Rose in the spring.
However, having kicked his side past Northampton Saints on Saturday and into a final showdown with Ford, Farrell has the chance for redemption in a Saracens side containing fellow Lions Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola and Brad Barritt.
And Cipriani, a third contender for England’s No.10 jersey, believes the competition between his fly-half rivals will bring an extra dimension to the training camp that follows the final.
“When you’ve had an injury and you return to action, you do come back a lot hungrier – especially when someone has taken your shirt,” said Cipriani, who is working with Emirates, an Official Worldwide Partner for Rugby World Cup 2015, for the next 11 weeks on their Find the Flag competition.
“And you can see that with Owen. That is going to bring some intensity to the camp itself.
“In every position there are going to be little battles and interesting conflicts – in a good way – which is only going to push the standard of the team. It is going to make sure the people who do get selected are the best men for the job.
“I think they are both a similar sort of age but they have both been around for a while, Owen in particular, and one of them will add a Premiership medal to their locker this weekend.
“It will be interesting to see their little battle and how that plays out, but it’s also great to see two budding young tens fighting for the Premiership this weekend and for the No.10 spot for England.”
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