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Body language expert shares verdict on hand-over-mouth Owen Farrell

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Michael Steele/World Rugby via Getty Images)

A leading UK body language expert has run the rule over the weekend Rugby World Cup behaviours of Owen Farrell and Dan Biggar.


Darren Stanton claimed that the suspended England skipper was deeply frustrated at having to watch his team’s win over Argentina from the Marseille stands, while the Wales out-half was described as someone to avoid when displaying the anger he showed versus Fiji in Bordeaux.

The opening round of the Rugby World Cup in France came to a close on Sunday night when the Welsh clung on to a 32-26 victory in a classic encounter with the Fijians.

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The previous evening, it was the turn of England to get off to a 27-10 winning start in their clash with the Pumas without their skipper.

Farrell had copped a four-game ban last month that will only expire after next Sunday’s second outing at the finals against Japan in Nice.

With their captain unavailable, it was left to George Ford to take on the No10 jersey and he did this task with aplomb, scoring all 27 of his team’s points – including a 10-minute drop goal hat-trick in a first half that had started with the red-carding of flanker Tom Curry.

Stanton, the body language expert who has appeared on popular UK shows such This Morning and The One Show, monitored the reactions of Farrell over the course of the Stade Velodrome match as he helplessly watched Ford kick England to an unexpected win.


Speaking to, Stanton explained how Farrell showed signs of anxiety and impatience from the stands with Ford putting in his match-winning display. “In the stands, there was a mixture of anxiety and impatience. Clearly, he wanted to be a part of the match,” reckoned Stanton.

“There was frustration, anger and disbelief as he was watching on not being in a position to play or help or support his teammates.

“Farrell frequently held his hand over his mouth, which is a gesture that displays disbelief and shock at a given situation, so incredibly frustrated is probably what I would say to describe him as he stood in the stands watching on.”

Switching to Biggar, who berated his Wales teammates for trying to play their way out of trouble deep in their own half just before half-time, Stanton added: “Dan Biggar shows all the tell-tale signs of being in an extreme state of anger, and the police used to call it ‘gross motor movement’.


“This is where people clench their fists and grit their teeth and, from a psychological perspective, we see him exhibiting the anger emotion through his micro-expressions and the eyes are focused in a particular direction.

“There is no mistaking an anger expression but, also coupled with the gross motor movements, this is somebody you want to stay out of their way if you see anyone displaying these gestures.”




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