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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 2:58 pm

There's simply not enough opportunity for some to have a pop at Owen Farrell so I thought I'd set another up! This isn't directly relating to his red card but more the feelings that he should have been punished more for his tackling technique in the past and how that feeds into the player (or how good a player) he is.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/sep/07/owen-farrell-needs-to-clean-up-his-act-to-become-england-all-time-great

I don't there's anyone who doubts that the tackle on Atkinson in the Wasps game should have resulted in a red but this article uses it as a basis for the view that Farrell risks his reputation for a talented player. He questions his captaincy and ability to lead with a nod to Itoje who has been a captain in waiting for many people since he came onto the scene. How much that has to do with greatness? not a great deal for me. He compares him to Wilkinson of course (as the last great English 10) but how much is that down to a very famous drop goal (for the general population) vs people actually watching him week in week out?

If Farrell were to retire tomorrow personally I'd say he was up there with the greatest to play for England, and in the prem, niggle or not. How much should his general demeanour sour potential greatness whether that being too northern or too English? A guy that has eked out every last drop of talent, a guy who celebrates every point with a gesture to raise awareness of a charity, or a guy who plays too near to the edge.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 3:30 pm

No hes not one of Englands greatest IMO.

When i think of Owen Farrell, I like his aggression and drive. His determination to try and win. I like the fact he's playing 12 for England despite that not being his position.

I dont he think he's a tremendous player though. Hes a solid international player. i think he's been lucky that we've had no stand out 12's. I think Ford is a better 10 than Farrell.

My biggest gripe with Farrell is his petulance. I think its his drive to win...but it boils over in Petulance and almost like he's sulking. Thats a trait i dont like in him...and even less so in an International Captain.

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Post by Old Man on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 4:06 pm

Being seen as a great is totally subjective, I read that article and disagree with it. When Farrell is done with his career his peers will judge him as a great or not

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 4:18 pm

He's an example of how to maximise your abilities to the fullest. Sam Warburton was another good example. I don't think either had the 'natural' talent of Johnny Wilkinson or even Martyn Williams but arguably they've been more effective or 'better' players (certainly Warburton over Nugget) in getting the most out of their careers.

Farrell has always been the golden boy in the subscription media who sees him as the star player to market the game to a casual audience. It's the American model of sport advertising, to create a Michael Jordan, or Tiger Woods, or Phil Taylor in every sport so people 'buy in' to a dominant winner and even without a connection to the sport they're drawn to dominance and success. Even in team sports. Wilkinson was that player during the Woodward era and injuries prevented him from becoming a much bigger deal in that sense. Sky tried to do the same with Farrell, including nominating him for world player of the year (Sky employee Will Greenwood was on the panel) in 2012 I believe which was a anything but deserved. Unfortunately Farrell just isn't quite good enough to live up to that kind of billing and has regularly proven to be a bit ordinary behind a pack that isn't dominant (which rarely happens for England and Saracens) and also has a tendency to completely lose his cool. Itoje is being lined up as exactly that and has been even before he became a full professional. 'FEC'. He's a good player and the media fawning is understandable but it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for I suppose 'old school' fans of the game. I've seen far more captain potential in Sam Underhill than Maro Itoje so far.

The fact he's a beneficiary of his father and his connections within the game also seem to have made people in the media more enthusiastic about him. Not many people seem to criticise him for what, to me, are quite clear failings as a player. The one area people are willing to do this has been his tackle technique.

This is another example of what has become a string of poor tackles involving Farrell. He was lucky to get away with the one against South Africa. It seemed outright incompetent and fearful refereeing that he wasn't penalised for the try-stopping non-tackle against Australia. The most recent high tackle was a shocker and it might be rationalised as a product of not playing rugby for so long but ultimately that doesn't matter. It was a totally careless tackle.

He probably would go down as an England great.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 4:30 pm

So a likely great but benefits from favoritism and has clear failings! I'm intrigued what you see in underhill in regards captaincy though as an aside. Never struck me as a leader.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 4:36 pm

To me, yes. The bar isn't that high to be an England great given how short lived professionalism is, how relatively non-great English 10s have been even dating back to the amateur era, and how well Farrell has done to squeeze the most out of his career.

Until someone better comes along he'll probably be a great. He's been much more durable than Wilkinson for instance which is a major bonus for him when it comes to judging these sorts of things. I agree with Old Man as well, though, that this is hardly an objective thing and the people best placed to judge are his peers.

You should watch and also listen to Underhill. He's the epitome of a leader of men, something that seems to be less understood these days.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 4:39 pm

I have that's why I questioned it regarding underhill.
Fair enough farrell will slot in as 2and best fly half in the pro era in the NH!

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Post by BamBam on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 4:53 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:Itoje is being lined up as exactly that and has been even before he became a full professional. 'FEC'. He's a good player and the media fawning is understandable but it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for I suppose 'old school' fans of the game.

What does 'media fawning' mean and why is it understandable, and why would 'old school' fans be uncomfortable with Itoje being lined up for captain (I believe he has captained every side he's played for at any level bar England)

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 5:05 pm

BamBam wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:Itoje is being lined up as exactly that and has been even before he became a full professional. 'FEC'. He's a good player and the media fawning is understandable but it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for I suppose 'old school' fans of the game.

What does 'media fawning' mean and why is it understandable, and why would 'old school' fans be uncomfortable with Itoje being lined up for captain (I believe he has captained every side he's played for at any level bar England)

I read that to be about Farrell and an abrasive northerner rather than the smooth royalty pleasing Carling.

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Post by Maddogflanker on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 5:45 pm

Farrell will go down as an England great, he's second in points scored in the all time highest list and started most games in the 18 game streak.
That being said, he is not a creative ten and there's been a few lucky escapes over the years.


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Post by BamBam on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 5:48 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:
BamBam wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:Itoje is being lined up as exactly that and has been even before he became a full professional. 'FEC'. He's a good player and the media fawning is understandable but it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for I suppose 'old school' fans of the game.

What does 'media fawning' mean and why is it understandable, and why would 'old school' fans be uncomfortable with Itoje being lined up for captain (I believe he has captained every side he's played for at any level bar England)

I read that to be about Farrell and an abrasive northerner rather than the smooth royalty pleasing Carling.

I took that entire quote to be about Itoje, but I'm sure RRB will clear it up

RRB wrote: Itoje is being lined up as exactly that and has been even before he became a full professional. 'FEC'. He's a good player and the media fawning is understandable but it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for I suppose 'old school' fans of the game. I've seen far more captain potential in Sam Underhill than Maro Itoje so far.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 5:56 pm

BamBam wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:Itoje is being lined up as exactly that and has been even before he became a full professional. 'FEC'. He's a good player and the media fawning is understandable but it doesn't make it any less uncomfortable for I suppose 'old school' fans of the game.

What does 'media fawning' mean and why is it understandable, and why would 'old school' fans be uncomfortable with Itoje being lined up for captain (I believe he has captained every side he's played for at any level bar England)

I think you've misread/misunderstood.

Media fawning means exactly what I said. It means being soft or less critical of a player because of a range of factors, in this case it includes family links and therefore not wanting to upset the apple cart within what is still a small sport/industry, which is fair enough. Foreign players, particularly non-English speaking players, get a much harder time in the press than English ones, for instance. Particularly the French, there's not much love for them. It's partly psychology and professional self interest, no one wants to get on the bad side of the Farrells for obvious reasons (case in point Steve Diamond and his relationship with the press. Farrell is much more potent than Diamond). If the media were fair they would have pointed out year after year how and when Farrell Jr has underperformed when the chips are down in the manner I described earlier, but they don't, especially in England.

That's the critical or negative side of things. Then there's the 'positive' side or over-hyping a player.

For Farrell, in my experience I've seen people towing the party line or even just lazily agreeing to see what executives are telling people to see (this was particularly true 5-8 years ago): that Farrell is the star to market the sport to non-traditional rugby fans in England who perhaps could be tempted over from football, or tennis, or golf, or F1. Itoje is exactly the same, he has been marketed as this highly educated Future England Captain poet rugby player from before his first England cap. It's not worth dwelling on that too much in my opinion but the consequence of this are, if you remember, a good few inches of column space dedicated to why Itoje should be Lions captain in 2017 (and England in 2019, and less so but still *some* for 2021 - we've got plenty of time for those articles to be written though). Partly this is his own PR company at work, a common thing in the modern game that can have big benefits particularly post-career, but it's also a reciprocal relationship with broadcasters wishing to have 'a star' to market the game. That he's black is seen as a positive for 'emerging markets' as well and certainly relevant to the current climate of the media being dislocated from its traditional base yet adamant in its righteousness on a particular racial narrative ("white bad; black good"). Itoje's actual abilities as a rugby player, or as a potential captain, are lost in the mists of the aura created for and around him. The exact same thing has happened to Farrell, in my opinion. It also sort of happened to Wilkinson but his 4 year injury stint between 2003-2007 helped to weaken that, as did his Indian Summer over in France. After Itoje there will be another 'hyped' player used to sell the game for as long as this is the operational model.

Old school fans dislike this because (for the most part) we understand rugby is the ultimate team sport and as ugly and unfashionable as props can be, for example, every component part within the team is integral. England learned this lesson in Japan last year. It isn't a game won by any one individual. This kind of 'star player' marketing is not only very American (which jars with rugby's different cultures, none of which feel particularly Americanised whether that's in South Africa, Georgia, England, or Tonga) but it's inimical to the very nature of our sport. It's part and parcel of this fairly lazy belief that to succeed in becoming 'accessible' to non-traditional fans - and to grow the game so it can compete commercially within a much more established and powerful sport/entertainment market - whether that be within Britain/UK or overseas, you have to 'Americanise' the way you brand it. It's the same kind of laziness that has seen rugby sell itself to hedge funds. I'm dubious about that and think one of the big things rugby offers is its non-American and very traditional values and ethics, which is partly why rugby is growing in Japan with its very specific cultural norms. There is a great message to be made in extolling the virtues of a game for all sizes, of showing how a prop and a winger are both integral in their own ways. This kind of branding is practically the direct opposite of that.

Hope that clears it up for you.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 6:03 pm

Great players do tend to get hype that's true. Guess we're just fortunate that they are living up to the billing.
Farrell will go down as a great england player. Itoje will be talked about in all time teams.

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Post by BamBam on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 6:15 pm

Eddie Jones is just the type of bloke to fall for marketing hype around players, I did keep wondering why he consistently selects Farrell and Itoje! Let's just hope Gatland is smart enough not to fall for it eh!!

'White bad, black good' is exactly what comes to mind when thinking about whether Itoje is potential captain material. Nothing to do with his on field abilities obviously

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Post by Cyril on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 6:56 pm

I see Meow has returned and is biting down hard Smile

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Post by BamBam on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 7:06 pm

It's rather adorable how the flounce and tantrum lasts only a short period before the new account pops up

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 9:42 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:I have that's why I questioned it regarding underhill.
Fair enough farrell will slot in as 2and best fly half in the pro era in the NH!

Do you really think that?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Mon 07 Sep 2020, 9:48 pm

Sexton may have something to say about it.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 7:07 am

It's odd to read about Owen Farrell being groomed as some kind of rugby marketing man's dream, when he is a very private man, who has long had an abrasive relationship with the media. It's even odder to hear that no-one in the media dare criticism him because of his father, when hardly a week went by, after the 2015 World Cup, without some hint of favouritism being levelled against him. (As it turns out, the only accusation like that from anyone linked to the squad was made by Sam Burgess against the Fords).

The idea that Owen Farrell goes largely unscrutinized in rugby, seems somewhat at odds with the fact that the most-viewed YouTube videos about him have titles like "Owen Farrell - Rugby's Biggest Thugs", "Owen Farrell - Anti Tribute" and "Is Owen Farrell the most hated man in rugby?".

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 9:33 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Sexton may have something to say about it.

Yeah i would say so...he's been some player. And probably even more decorated than Farrell? That would be intereting to see..what they have both won.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 11:42 am

By my crude reckoning Sextom has 13 title: 4 with leinster and 4 euro title, 1 with Racing and 4 6 nations.
Farrell has 9.
I'd say Sexton has more chance to add club titles and vice versa at the moment!

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 12:04 pm

ha ha, yeah i say thats true...although as a falcons fan..i asure you the Championship is a coveted medal!

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Post by MichaelT on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 12:29 pm

Sexton has 3 six nations (didn't play in 2009 grand slam) and not sure he won anything with Racing?

Farrell also has 5 leagues, 3 Europe and 2 six nations - so 10?

Farrell also scored more points (but less tries) in less internationals and is 6 or 7 years younger than Sexton.

Sexton will probably add 2 trophies in next few weeks though at least at club level, and its either England or Ireland for the six nations so one of them will have another too.


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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 1:03 pm

MichaelT wrote:Sexton has 3 six nations (didn't play in 2009 grand slam) and not sure he won anything with Racing?

Farrell also has 5 leagues, 3 Europe and 2 six nations - so 10?

Farrell also scored more points (but less tries) in less internationals and is 6 or 7 years younger than Sexton.

Sexton will probably add 2 trophies in next few weeks though at least at club level, and its either England or Ireland for the six nations so one of them will have another too.


That's what I get when rushing things! Ta

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Post by dummy_half on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 1:48 pm

A few thoughts:

While Farrell gets criticised for his tackling, he's hardly Brian Lima. He does tend to tackle quite upright, so there's always a risk of ending up high either if the tackled player loses some height or the tackle rides up. Gets away with it most of the time, although clearly the one at the weekend was a bad misjudgement (deserved red, but I think was reckless rather than with damaging intent).

I actually think Farrell gets a bit over-rated for his kicking, both from hand and from the tee, but a bit under-rated regarding his ball handling, perhaps because he rarely carries the ball through the defensive line himself. His goal kicking percentage isn't as outstanding as you would expect for his reputation, but he does frequently play 10 for sides that score a lot of tries and win games.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 3:55 pm

I've heard some old pros - Monye, Greenwood and, to a lesser degree, Flatman - think Farrell might be hard done by with all opprobrium heaped on him, because rugby has made heroes of uncompromising players in the past. They all mention Martin Johnson's violence, and Monye gave the example of hitmen like Trevor Leota, who are often regarded fondly. When Chris Jones said tackle standards have changed, Monye pointed out that Leota's tackles were never acceptable as he got red cards at the time.

And yet, Chris Jones is right. Leota got red carded at the time but, if he was in the game today and tackling like that, he would hardly get any game time with all the bans he would draw. You can't become a fan favourite when you aren't playing. Martin Johnson is a much-loved captain but his violence did become an issue. There was plenty of press arguing that an England captain should be setting better standards. I'm not sure these old pros are doing Farrell any service with their comparisons

Farrell gets in positions where he wants to impose himself on the game, and sacrifices any semblance of technique to do so. That doesn't fly these days, and I don't think it does him any favours to talk about times when it might have been OK. I do think Farrell is picking up a lot of unfair abuse but he does have something he needs to sort out.


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Post by Hazel Sapling on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 4:19 pm

I do think Farrell has some flaws as a player that have been hidden by having so much surrounding talent at Sarries and England that few sides can compete with. The tackling is a key one and done to death. This incident is not out of character for Owen Farrell and feels like the Djokovic incident at the US Open. Djokovic was asked about his temper before and called it a joke. Suddenly, there is a consequence to a flaw that was identified ages ago. Farrell is apparently told to tackle high and is naturally aggressive in the tackle, he gets it wrong and Atkinson is lucky to not end up in hospital.

On the other hand, Farrell is an excellent player who has won almost everything there is to win. Multiple Lions tours including at least one win and a draw (SA to come), multiple Six Nations wins, led a side to the RWC final (captain?), likely to be an England centurion, won multiple European crowns and several league titles. You don't do that without being seriously talented and being a top player.

When Farrell retires, I think he will be remembered as an England great. He lacks a stand out moment like Wilkinson or Johnson did to become a legend whilst playing. If England had won the RWC2019, maybe there is an argument. Before that though, there is an asterisk over his club achievements (rightly or wrongly), questions about his whining on the pitch and the stain of multiple poor tackles. All that will be forgotten with time, particularly if England can only find a Flood-type to replace him.

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Post by GeordieFalcon on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 4:23 pm

You see i Dont see him in the same light as a Leota or Martin Johnson.

Maybe i just have different expectations of players on different rugby positions.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 4:26 pm

To swing it to football are Shesrer, Keane or julian Dicks seen as lesser players for some dodgy tackles,

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Post by Mr Bounce on Tue 08 Sep 2020, 7:30 pm

Farrell is (as stated above) a very private guy who you don't hear about outside of rugby. What you get on the pitch is the uncompromising will to win and the desire to do as best as he can. He does have issues with his tackling technique, this much is certain. However, because he's SO pumped, SO full of that desire to win, it comes across as a bit petulant. I totally understand why he rubs people up the wrong way. I think it was only a matter of time before his "chest high" tackling would come back to haunt him.

I think to state that Farrell isn't as good as Ford is misleading. Ford is far better kicking out of hand and is very much the go to guy for faster-flowing rugby. That said, Farrell's passing is at times a beautiful thing. The pass to Sinckler in the Australia world cup match was sublime and the beautifully timed pass for Eliot Daly to score in the corner against Wales in 2017 was nigh on perfect.

I think that he is a great player, and like most great players, they all have their flaws (unless you're Irish and it's BOD, English and it's Johnson or Kiwi and it's McCaw). However, it's like the standard thing with the press - they will happily flame someone despite not knowing what they're actually like, because it sells. The same goes for rugby fans who don't support England (and some that do) - they look for someone to hate on, and because Farrell often plays on the edge, he gets the flak. There are more exciting 10s out there, and better all-round 12s, but Farrell is a leader, and the England captain. He's certainly no bad player, and depending on when he retires (he's probably got 6 or so years left) he'll have a shedload of caps and probably a fair few trophies. In time people will write nicer things about him.

I always remember the little speech one rugby coach I had said to us at school: "It doesn't matter if the guy you're playing next to is your most hated person in the world - on that pitch, he's your mate, and he stays that until you leave the pitch". I always view that a similar way with the players in the England team. Even if I don't like a particular player much, if he's pulling on the England shirt then they have my support.

Farrell is a confidence player, and has a hell of a lot most of the time. Much was made of his technique at the RWC, yet it was him who was targeted. No of yellows or reds for high tackles? 0. However, Atkinson looked like he'd been hit by a sniper, so I expect it to be a fairly hefty punishment.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 12:09 am

10 game ban reduced to 5 for character and past record.

Lot of early twitter reactions mocking the fact that Farrell's charity work was brought up but that seems like a standard thing to do with regards to character.

The panel said it was a high level offence, which was the right classification. I'm happy he got the mitigation that anyone else would have received but it also wouldn't have outraged me if the the ban had been halved from a higher starting point.

If he does anything like that again, there'll be no mitigation, and he could easily end up with a 14-16 game ban.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 2:27 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:It's odd to read about Owen Farrell being groomed as some kind of rugby marketing man's dream, when he is a very private man, who has long had an abrasive relationship with the media. It's even odder to hear that no-one in the media dare criticism him because of his father, when hardly a week went by, after the 2015 World Cup, without some hint of favouritism being levelled against him. (As it turns out, the only accusation like that from anyone linked to the squad was made by Sam Burgess against the Fords).

The idea that Owen Farrell goes largely unscrutinized in rugby, seems somewhat at odds with the fact that the most-viewed YouTube videos about him have titles like "Owen Farrell - Rugby's Biggest Thugs", "Owen Farrell - Anti Tribute" and "Is Owen Farrell the most hated man in rugby?".

He was most definitely being pushed as the main player to 'sell' Sky Sports rugby in the first half of the last decade before Sky started losing interest in rugby. I think some of the demonising of Farrell has been cartoonish in recent years but I don't think he was singled out in 2015 either and he definitely wasn't being criticised in the years before that when, in my opinion, some healthy analysis of his failings would have been fair enough. What I am also referring to is the way people don't criticise or analyse his failings as a top fly half which I think are fairly obvious and are exposed repeatedly at the top level, particularly when he plays behind a pack that isn't dominating, something many in his position like Dan Biggar, Finn Russell, any Australian 10 has to do most weeks. That doesn't make him a bad player and given that his competition is Charlie Hodgson and Andy Goode he'll go down as an England 'Great' for now but he is at least as well suited to 12 which both England and the Lions have done and been successful with him in the centre. I wouldn't worry too much about YouTube.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 2:30 pm

You'd put him as equal to Andy Goode. Riiiiiiight. You Welsh by any chance? Just checking as you're new to the board.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 2:33 pm

5 games seems fair. It was a bad tackle but it's not dirty play like gouging.

No 7&1/2 wrote:You'd put him as equal to Andy Goode. Riiiiiiight.

You've misread. Try again.


Last edited by rugby racing and beer on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 2:34 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by BamBam on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 2:33 pm

New Very Happy Wink

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 2:34 pm

h so he's better than Goode in your opinion. thank goodness. I thought you were just a Welsh wum on tour!

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Post by miltonkeynesengland on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 3:55 pm

My biggest problem with calling any current England players great is the repeated failure to adapt during games when the coach can't influence things.
Too often I watch Eng when we're matched for physicality or stopped from generating quick ball we can't come up with new ideas on the fly.
A fault of coaching really but the greatest players have nearly always had the ability to improvise and change things.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 4:40 pm

rugby racing and beer wrote:I don't think he was singled out in 2015 either and he definitely wasn't being criticised in the years before that.
You are rewriting history there.

Almost from the start, Farrell's ability to get the best out of a backline was questioned. Hodgson had a sweeter pass for club and country, and Cipriani was a firm fan favourite. He also put himself back in the England frame when he returned in 2013. However, Lancaster had few goalkickers in his squad, and Farrell was easily the best.

Still, poor form and injury saw George Ford get a run of games at 10 in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup, and you'll find plenty of commentary wanting Lancaster to stick with him. In fact, the main narrative around England's failure at the tournament the way Lancaster suddenly switched horses back to Farrell. The idea that no-one ever asked questions about Farrell at 10 is just not the case.

Does that mean he can't play international fly half? Obviously not. He's beaten every major Test team while playing in that position, which is not something many other Northern hemisphere flyhalves have done. His career has coincided with a time when teams have often deployed two playmakers, and England's other best choice playmaker has been Ford, who can cover other positions, but is primarily a flyhalf.

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Post by Mr Bounce on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 4:43 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:I don't think he was singled out in 2015 either and he definitely wasn't being criticised in the years before that.
You are rewriting history there.

Almost from the start, Farrell's ability to get the best out of a backline was questioned. Hodgson had a sweeter pass for club and country, and Cipriani was a firm fan favourite. He also put himself back in the England frame when he returned in 2013. However, Lancaster had few goalkickers in his squad, and Farrell was easily the best.

Still, poor form and injury saw George Ford get a run of games at 10 in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup, and you'll find plenty of commentary wanting Lancaster to stick with him. In fact, the main narrative around England's failure at the tournament the way Lancaster suddenly switched horses back to Farrell. The idea that no-one ever asked questions about Farrell at 10 is just not the case.

Does that mean he can't play international fly half? Obviously not. He's beaten every major Test team while playing in that position, which is not something many other Northern hemisphere flyhalves have done. His career has coincided with a time when teams have often deployed two playmakers, and  England's other best choice playmaker has been Ford, who can cover other positions, but is primarily a flyhalf.

I don't think I have ever seen Ford play anywhere but 10. Whenever he's come on he's been at 10, with the incumbent 10 either moving or leaving the field.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 4:46 pm

You missed Stuary Barnes on Sky who was beating the drum for Freddie Burns Rugby Fan. But the mists of time can play tricks on the mind.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 6:53 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:I don't think he was singled out in 2015 either and he definitely wasn't being criticised in the years before that.
You are rewriting history there.

I don't think I'm rewriting history at all I think you might be pretending that a few lone voices were louder than they actually were. Of course it's not all or nothing but it's mostly 'not a lot' when it comes to this sort of criticism and certainly there is no in depth or 'proper' analysis that's been published (either in print or an amateur on youtube) that address Farrell's shortcomings as a 10.

As I said, in the early years there was motivation to make him the new Wilkinson on Sky Sports, a Michael Owen of rugby. Add his father in and that's the point I'm making about that but it's really not worth dwelling upon. What defines 'greatness' for instance? It's a silly question really just for people to play around with. In 100 years time he'll still be looked on as one of England's best 10s in the same way we still laud certain players from the amateur era despite the way the game has changed. There haven't been many good let alone great 10s in the last 10 years because of the way rugby has changed from diagonal and lateral attacking from 10 to a much more structured, rugby league type system. It's all just a matter of opinion and although I think Farrell is a top rugby player I'm not sure he's a 'great' 10. He always looked better at 12 for me even in the early years but the way that position has changed to become so physical he doesn't have the size or tackle technique to be noticeably better than he is at 10 anymore. It's all just minor things though he's still a top international player but as good as he is he also does lose his head or start making silly or petulant errors or just goes missing in big games particularly for England.

People said all sorts of tripe in the wake of the 2015 tournament but I'm certain more people alternatively blamed Sam Burgess or George Ford for the Wales defeat than Farrell even with the petulant tackle he put in off the ball against Australia. I wouldn't use a few mentions in the braying media who went after almost everyone with glee as evidece that Farrell was blamed for the exit. He wasn't. Now that would be rewriting history.

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Post by rugby racing and beer on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 6:55 pm

https://www.skysports.com/rugby-union/news/12504/8292493/england-star-owen-farrell-nominated-for-irb-player-of-the-year-award

Sky Sports wrote: England star Owen Farrell has been nominated for the prestigious IRB Player of the Year 2012 award.

He is up against New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter and France No 10 Frederic Michalak.

The judging panel consists of Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphael Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustin Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul Wallace.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 7:02 pm

Are you Welsh rrb?

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Post by Old Man on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 7:06 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:
rugby racing and beer wrote:I don't think he was singled out in 2015 either and he definitely wasn't being criticised in the years before that.
You are rewriting history there.

Almost from the start, Farrell's ability to get the best out of a backline was questioned. Hodgson had a sweeter pass for club and country, and Cipriani was a firm fan favourite. He also put himself back in the England frame when he returned in 2013. However, Lancaster had few goalkickers in his squad, and Farrell was easily the best.

Still, poor form and injury saw George Ford get a run of games at 10 in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup, and you'll find plenty of commentary wanting Lancaster to stick with him. In fact, the main narrative around England's failure at the tournament the way Lancaster suddenly switched horses back to Farrell. The idea that no-one ever asked questions about Farrell at 10 is just not the case.

Does that mean he can't play international fly half? Obviously not. He's beaten every major Test team while playing in that position, which is not something many other Northern hemisphere flyhalves have done. His career has coincided with a time when teams have often deployed two playmakers, and  England's other best choice playmaker has been Ford, who can cover other positions, but is primarily a flyhalf.

Farrell doesn’t have a good record vs SA though.

Only won three matches and one draw in eleven attempts.

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Post by BamBam on Wed 09 Sep 2020, 7:28 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Are you Welsh rrb?

That answer will set the cat amongst the pigeons

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 10 Sep 2020, 12:16 am

Old Man wrote:Farrell doesn’t have a good record vs SA though.

Only won three matches and one draw in eleven attempts.
No England player over the last 15 years, let alone a flyhalf, has a good record against South Africa, so that isn't really a strike against Farrell's ability at 10.

I've always found our long, nine game losing streak against South Africa frustrating. We had a draw too, so it's actually a run of twelve games against you when we couldn't win. It came after a seven match winning streak of our own, which is the longest streak we have against any of the Southern hemisphere big 3, only recently matched by our streak against Australia.

None of those South African victories were lucky wins either, as far as I recall. Aside from *that* denied try in the 2007 World Cup final, no refereeing decisions against us stand out in the same way as Farrell's unpunished tackle in 2018. The Springboks were a strong team but you were also losing to teams that England were beating. I'd imagine Welsh supporters have similar feelings about their losing streak against Australia, at a time when almost everyone else managed a win here and there against the Wallabies.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 10 Sep 2020, 9:32 am

Live Owen Farrell alone, he's 'armless

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Post by BamBam on Thu 10 Sep 2020, 9:50 am

We've just seen what happens when he tries to use his arms, I blame you lot

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Thu 10 Sep 2020, 10:36 am

Neil Francis is wumming behind a paywall now. Plenty of journalists and pundits really dont like a successful northern lad. Greenwood really needs to provide some balance I think.

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