Owen Farrell pushing for England inclusion

Owen Farrell was named Aviva Premiership Player of the Month for October, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore his claims for a place in England’s squad for the Six Nations.

Owen Farrell

Farrell has been playing at centre for Saracens, with Charlie Hodgson at fly-half, and he could be the immediate answer to England’s problems in the midfield.

His pace and vision are already first class, but it’s his composure for a 20-year-old that is marking him out as a future England star. His performance in last season’s Premiership final was outstanding, and his match-winning effort at Kingsholm a few weeks ago was another feather in his cap.

A line must be drawn under England’s disastrous World Cup campaign, and now is the time at the start of the next four-year cycle to bring new blood into the squad and let them mature in the international environment together.

England has been dreadful in the last eight years in capping new players and developing them properly. The policy has been either to throw them in and give them one match to prove themselves, or to stand by the tired old heads until they get injured. A far cry from the forward-looking Australian approach.

A centre combination of Farrell and Manu Tuilagi could be exciting. It has that blend of playmaker / bulldozer abilities so embarrassingly lacking in the Noon / Tindall or even Hape / Banahan combinations that we’ve seen in recent years, and suddenly opposition defences may have to think twice about where the ball is going to be.

What do you think? Is it too soon for Farrell, or should he be involved in the 2012 Six Nations? What would be your ideal 10, 12, 13 combination?

35 thoughts on “Owen Farrell pushing for England inclusion

  1. “Farrell has been playing at inside centre for Saracens”

    He’s either been playing at 10 or 13 this season, Barritt has been at 12 and should be playing at 12 alongside Manu. Farrell should be back-up 10 to Flood imo.

      1. Whilst he has been wearing 13 he has played in both the 1st and 2 receiver channel. He has the ability to offer a lot to a backline with his tactical kicking and range of passing and is the form player in the Premiership. If he his the best available come the six nations he should be picked and be the front line kicker.
        If I was going to pick a side tomorrow I would be tempted to pick Hodgson at 10 as he been playing well with Farrell at club level and Manu outside him. Trinder, Barritt, Twelvetrees and Joseph (when fit again) should all be given a shot in the wider EPS.

        1. You’re right about Hodgson. Since joining Sarries he’s learnt to tackle, which is something he’s been heavily criticised for in the past. I think it really is time to bring in the younger fly halves and give them a chance.

          1. I like Hodgson in for now because he would allow England to play a more attacking game and would allow two youngsters Farrell and Tuilagi to play on the gameline and really develop.

  2. Excellent article. 100% agree.

    It makes no sense that England continue to struggle with midfield combos when there area players in the Premiership like Farrell, Trinder, Turner-Hall, Clarke, Barritt, Twelvetrees, (and Tuilagi, obviously).

    As you say, these players need to be brought into the elite squad now and given support and time to develop and gain that top-class experience. The next four years should be very exciting for England, IF the management don’t act like complete doughnuts.

    Ideal 10, 12, 13? I’d go 10 Flood (Farrell replaces him around 50′), 12 Barritt (12trees bench), 13 Tuilagi.

    That would be my starting line-up. Would like to see Turner-Hall, Trinder & Clarke given a run also. Mustn’t become too heavily dependent on Manu!

    1. “Mustn’t become too heavily dependent on Manu!”

      I think this is a habit the management need to get out of. At the moment it is fine because Manu is playing well, but if he begins to lose the ability to string performances together he has to lose his spot.

      Anyone who thinks we have a “problem” with centres in England is clearly delusional. Farrell is one of many excellent options. The fact he can play both 10 and 13 means it gives us options from the bench, which is where he should earn his first cap from in my opinion. Although young, Turner-Hall has been around at Harlequins for ages and has matured immensely. Same can be said of Twelvetrees. If you start thinking about it, centre actually provides a selection headache! Oh the irony.

    1. Id like to see Farrell / 12 trees / tuilaigi and trinder in the mixer.
      my issue has been with our back three.

      ahston and foden fine – but why stiick with cueto? Sharples has to be given a go.

      in our back row, RObshaw HAS to be given a crack. he always seems to do the right thing and seems like a calm leader, who can get over the gain line.

      (although he is made to look rather good by the best 7 in the premiership, Maurie Fa’asavalu!!)

      1. Our back 3 has been the strongest part of our team and Cueto has been a key part in balancing that. Having said that it may well now be time to give the likes of Sharples a crack.

  3. ‘His pace and vision are already first class’

    Give him a few games with England and they’ll soon have that coached out of him.

  4. I think where Farrell plays for England over the next decade hinges on the development of George Ford. Whilst immediately I can see him playing 12 with Flood at 10, in the long-term it should be Ford and him pulling the strings, with Tuilagi at 13.

  5. I think England should use this year’s six nations as a real chance to blood some youth into the squad. I would like to see the starting back line as. 9. Simpson. 10. Flood. 11. Sharples. 12. Farrell. 13. Tuilagi 14. Asthon 15. Foden. This would be such an exciting back line with outstanding counter attacking potential whilst maintaining a strong defensive line with Tuilagi and Foden backing up.

    1. Shouldnt pick youngsters for the sake of it. Pick the best side available and if that means youngsters playing then so be it. Important that the right balance of experience is there as well as building for the future.

      1. I think there’s a strong argument that that is the best back line. Would have no complaints about seeing Tom’s selection take the field against Scotland.

        1. It is close to the strongest backline right and wouldnt have any complaints if all were chosen because of that, my point was that just dont pick youth for the sake of picking youth.

  6. Some interesting views here. At the end of the day Farrell needs to be in the team somewhere. I agree with Matt that Barritt should be starting at 12, maybe Farrell covers 10 and 12 from the bench, but it seems a shame to leave him on the bench, when at the moment, whether he’s playing 10, 12 or 13, he’s on cracking form. I think with Barriitt and Tuilagi outside him, he would be better than Flood or Ford. And people asking where is Ford going to fit in? Is he even getting much game time with Flood back and Staunton in the mix at Leicester. Ford is a good player, but unless he is playing regularly at this level like Farrell is, how will we know he’s on form?

    1. very well put Dazza!
      the question is also (again) @ 12 do you go with a basher, barritt or a player (12trees)?

      1. Thanks Jimmy. You do realise though, that this is all inconsequential if Johnson and the coaching team stay.

        Although Barritt is a basher, he still has more playing ability than the choices they have selected recently i.e. Hape(less), Banaram or Trundall!

  7. Intrigued by all this Twelvetrees chat given that Anthony Allen was Leicester’s player of the year at 12 last year. Haven’t seen much of Leicester this season (been in NZ don’t you know), has =he been playing well.

    Re the Farrell 10 or 13 chat, he has played 12 in the England age groups and that could well be where he ends up playing quite a lot of his rugby. And let’s not get too excited about George Ford just yet, he’s still 3rd choice at his club I think. Great prospect but so were Lamb, Geraghty and Cipriani.

    I remain to be convinced by Barritt. Excellent Premiership player but think he needs more to his game for international rugby. Hape was shown up as not having enough in his armoury and I think Barritt might be similar.

  8. Flood 10, Farrell 12, Tuilagi 13. Experienced/new cap/limited experience. All about for the next World Cup. Job done.

  9. Definitely Flood, Farrell, Tuilagi.

    In fact, while i’m in the mood.

    1 – Corbs
    2 – Hartley
    3 – Cole
    4 – Lawes
    5 – Palmer
    6 – Croft
    7 – Robshaw (c)
    8 – Waldrom
    9 – Youngs
    10 – Flood
    11 – Sharples
    12 – Farrell
    13 – Tuilagi
    14 – Ashton
    15 – Foden.

    For me would be a pretty stellar team to start building with.

  10. Agree, but for a couple of positions.

    5 – I believe Palmer’s unavailable for selection because of playing in France.
    I hear that George Robson at Harlequins is doing rather well, don’t know much about him myself but apparently he’s mustard.

    8 – Don’t understand why we need to draft in a fat Kiwi when we’ve got people like Phil Dowson available.

    I assume Tom Wood at least merits a place on the bench? I’d actually have him ahead of Croft, although Crofty’s very handy at the lineout isn’t he.

    Other than that, I think this is definitely the team most England rugby fans want to see.

  11. Ah of course sorry forgot about the Palmer overseas situations. Of course. Replace with Attwood.

    Haha your description of Waldrom is both harsh yet undeniably true. However i feel he offers the ball carrying ability and pace of say Haskell, along with the rugby smarts of Easter. Which ever one we’ve gone with in the past i feel we’ve lacked that other element (so either Haskell doing something stupid or East running at about 3 miles an hour). I feel Waldrom offers us both. Plus wasn’t he players player of the season last year??

    Yes – Wood makes the bench to cover loosies. Altho to be honest, i see him as a good international flanker, but not a great one. So is it worth persisting? Not sure.


    1. Such a shame to miss out on Palmer in my opinion our best player in the 6n and not given enough of a chance at the RWC.

  12. Last couple of times i’ve seen Gloucester play i’ve enjoyed Freddie Burns’ performances. More of an out and out 10 than Farrell – who i think might be best suited to 13 or 2nd 5/8th or inside centre or whatever the second receiver is now called. Anyway, both great players who’ve been able to express themselves in the England youth setup and at their clubs…will their talent be stifled by England senior team/coaches?!

  13. I think Owen Farrell’s pretty much nailed on for the 6 nations England 10 or 12 shirt. My team for Scotland (well preferabblly some kind of warm up game to see how they go, but I don’t think there is one) would be….

    1. Alex Corbisiero
    2. Dylan Hartley
    3. Dan Cole
    4. Courtney Lawes
    5. Geoff Parling
    6. Chris Robshaw (c)
    7. David Seymour
    8. Carl Fearns (England really have no young 8s at the moment, so I’d choose Fearns and tell Bath to keep him there!)
    9. Karl Dickson
    10. Freddie Burns
    11. Charlie Sharples
    12. Owen Farrell
    13. Manu Tuilagi
    14. Chris Ashton
    15. Ben Foden

    16. Steve Thompson
    17. Joe Marler
    18. George Robson
    19. Tom Croft
    20. Lee Dickson
    21. Henry Trinder/Jordan Turner Hall
    22. Christian Wade

    1. Personally i don’t think the team needs such a radical overhaul. Might as well through mine in.

      1 Corbs
      2 Hartley
      3 Cole
      4 Lawes
      5 I want Plamer but cant so Attwood/Robson not really sure
      6 Croft/Robshaw
      7 Wood
      8 Robshaw (not a real 8 but who is? don’t say Easter. maybe Waldrom)
      9 Youngs (hope he can find form)
      10 Flood (has the right to feel hard done by at WC)
      12 Barrit (good all rounder, with Flood playing flat we need someone who can carry at 12 Farrel cant do this)
      13 Manu
      14 Ahton
      15 Foden

      16 Thomo (who else?)
      17 Stevens (impact, played out of position at WC)
      18 Attwood/Robson
      19 Waldrom/Croft
      20 Care
      21 Farrell
      22 Armitage (if he sorts out discipline)

      1. Nick
        i have an issue with Cole, perhaps unfounded…..

        he does do much in the lose and seems to trundle around, looking “mean” and “indignant” while not really doing much, which is fine if…..

        he was a mutant in the scrum, which from what ive seen, he isnt. is that harsh?

        Marler looks tasty.but again he needs ton prove himself v solid props.Heinkein Cup could be platform for him to shine.

        1. Agreed on Cole I dont think hes great but a solid set peice man. I find Cole a lot like Hartley, never screws always does ok but never tears anyone to shreds either (in open play or scrum time) so its just a “if it aint broke” menatlity. Its understandable considering how much more of a problem other positions are.
          I was unsure about starting him or Stevens who i think is probably a better all round player (don’t know why i started Cole actually!). As i said before Stevens played out of position at the world cup, he can cover loose head from the bench but cant start there.
          If Marler keeps putting in performances like he did against Connacht then the shirt is his… Is he tight or loose? either way.

          1. ITs Gloucester v Harlequins on sat in the HCup, lets see how marler gets on against a pack who took on and beat the might toulouse

  14. 1. Corbisiero
    2. Hartley
    3. Cole
    4. Lawes
    5. Attwood
    6. Croft
    7. Wood
    8 Robshaw (c)
    9. Simpson
    10. Farrell
    11. Sharples
    12. Barritt
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Thompson (who else?)
    17. Stevens
    18. Kennedy
    19. Dowson
    20. Care/Youngs
    21. Flood
    22. ? Wade/Goode/Short/Abendanon

    Palmer and Haskell both don’t feature as they are not eligible

  15. 1. Corbs
    2. Hartley (c)
    3. Cole
    4. Lawes
    5. Attwood
    6. Wood/Robshaw
    7. Robshaw/Wood
    8. Waldrom
    9. Dickson
    10. Flood
    11. Sharples
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Thompson
    17. Marler
    18. that new bloke at leicester (cant remember his name)
    19. Croft
    20. Youngs
    21. Goode/Barrit
    22. Trinder

    Decent side with not too many radical changes. Personaly i think Hartley should captain while Robshaw is integrated into the squad. Trinder looks good and so does farrel. I stook Goode in their for his versatility. was undecided for youngs or simpson on the bench. went for youngs cos of his greater axperience (tho if he doesnt play well change him for simpson)

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