'If Owen Farrell doesn't show something, he may not be playing'
Former British & Irish Lions winger Shane Horgan has questioned whether or not Owen Farrell is likely to start in the Test series against the Springboks after another flat performance in the red jersey.
Farrell was drafted in 90 minutes before kick-off after Dan Biggar suffered an ankle strain and was withdrawn from the starting fifteen to play a South Africa A team loaded with Springbok stars in Cape Town.
Farrell’s game was riddled with errors and odd decision making and Horgan suggests that it’s time for the England star to put up or face the prospect of missing out on a Test place.
“Not too impressive. He [Owen Farrell] had an opportunity at 10, and he’s also being looked at at 12, but I think either position is drifting away from him,” said Horgan, speaking on Virgin Media Sport on Irish televison.
Farrell’s first major involvement was to be uncharacteristically charged down by six foot eight Eben Etzebeth, a mistake that resulted in a try for South Africa A, and Horgan was asked to break down a VT of the Englishman’s poorer moments in the game.
“He hasn’t delivered the type of performances that we have seen in the past. It’s started early [get charged down] off a very slow ruck but his choice of kick here is really strange. A high one over the top against Etzebeth, it’s not a smart play.
“You can see he’s always committed though,” said Horgan as he watched back the Nkosi try. “Look how hard he’s working to try and get back and make up for the mistake he made. De Allende ran a really smart line that meant he couldn’t get across.
"Either position (10 or 12) is drifting away from him a little bit.
"We see him getting involved with the referee. He's not the captain, Conor is. He just seemed a bit distracted."
— Virgin Media Sport (@VMSportIE) July 15, 2021
“There’s stuff you don’t see from him. Missing a touch kick. That’s something that shouldn’t happen. He doesn’t need to put it right in the corner.”
“This [a poor cross-field kick] just seemed like a ludicrous decision to go for a cross-kick when they’re two men up in the opposition 22,” although Horgan added that he didn’t “think he was helped by his centres today.”
“Here we see him getting involved with the referee. He’s not the captain of the team, Conor is. He just seemed a little bit distracted. He has seemed a little bit distracted for a while. I’m a huge fan of his, I love him playing as a 12, especially against a rush defence that we saw against South Africa A today and a more aggressive one that we’ll see in the Tests.
“I think having a second set of eyes and a player that distribute the ball and get around that corner, that’s really valuable. But if he doesn’t show something between now and the first Test, he may not be playing.”
"I can't understand the comments were that there was no contact with the head"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) July 15, 2021
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