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Andy Farrell's poignant message for son Owen at Six Nations launch

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Glyn Kirk/AFP via Getty Images)

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Ireland boss Andy Farrell had a poignant message for his son Owen, the stricken England skipper, at the Guinness Six Nations media launch on Wednesday. The 30-year-old Saracens captain was having an operation at around the same time his dad dialled in from training camp in Dublin to represent the Irish at the build-up event for the 2022 championship. 

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It was last Friday when it was confirmed that Farrell Jnr had suffered a fresh injury setback in his efforts to get back playing in time for the February 5 opening round Six Nations match featuring England away to Scotland in Murrayfield.    

Farrell had been recuperating following an ankle injury suffered in the November win over Australia and after he was last week chosen by Eddie Jones to skipper the 36-man squad for the Six Nations, it was hoped that the talisman would complete his comeback by playing for Saracens in last Sunday’s European Challenge Cup match versus London Irish. 

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That comeback failed to materialise, however. Farrell suffered an injury to his other ankle on the training ground and following specialist medical advice, it was decided he would require an operation and the eight-to-ten-week layoff will now rule him out of the entire Six Nations with England

Before the injury, there was every chance that Farrell would have led England out in March at Twickenham against an Ireland XV coached by his dad who became their head coach following the 2019 World Cup having previously occupied the role of defence coach since 2016 under Joe Schmidt.    

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Coach Farrell is bringing his Ireland squad to Portugal on Thursday for some warm-weather training ahead of their opening Six Nations match versus Wales in Dublin on February 5 and he had the following message for Owen when asked about the latest injury setback suffered by the England skipper. “As far as he is concerned, he has probably had one major injury before these two ankle injuries. 

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“What is he, 30 years of age? You take the rough with the smooth and just move on. I know he is absolutely gutted to have another injury, which everyone would be, especially at this time of year because the Six Nations is massive to everyone. I have no doubt it will whet the appetite to come back bigger and stronger.”

Ireland skipper Johnny Sexton, who toured with Farrell on the 2013 and 2017 Lions, added: “Look, any team in the world would miss a player of his calibre, with his leadership. I have been in environments with him before and it’s outstanding.

“Something like this as bad as it feels at the time will lead him on to coming back feeling fresher and hungrier than ever – not that he needs it. He is a hungry fella, but he will come back better.”

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