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'It is going to take its toll at some point' - teammate on Farrell abuse

By PA
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: Owen Farrell of England shakes hands with Max Malins as he leaves the pitch after picking up an ankle injury during the Autumn Nations Series match between England and Australia at Twickenham Stadium on November 13, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Owen Farrell’s England and former Saracens team-mate Max Malins has described the abuse thrown at him as “shocking” and “ridiculous”.

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England captain Farrell will miss this season’s Six Nations after deciding to take a break from international rugby to prioritise his and his family’s mental health.

And Malins has backed the 32-year-old, who will continue playing for Saracens, to return “as good as he was” at the sport’s highest level.

“It has probably come as a surprise to many, but good on him,” Bristol back Malins said.

“I think he is unfairly treated in the media and from fans.

“We are all human beings. For someone to take such a battering over a period of time it is going to take its toll at some point, so good on him.”

Farrell led England to a third-place World Cup finish in France last month, but the tournament build-up proved far from plain-sailing for him.

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He was sent off in a World Cup warm-up game against Wales, only for an independent disciplinary panel to cause an outcry when it cleared him following a shoulder-led tackle to the head of Wales forward Taine Basham, which was expected to result in a significant ban.

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World Rugby then appealed that decision, and he received a four-match suspension that included England’s opening two World Cup fixtures against Argentina and Japan.

Farrell’s father – Ireland head coach Andy Farrell – labelled media coverage of the episode “a circus”, while Owen Farrell was subjected to considerable attacks on social media and at times during the World Cup he was booed by sections of the crowd during England games.

Malins, who was also part of England’s World Cup squad, added: “I think it’s shocking, to be honest.

“I was up in the stands when the teams were getting read out, and I heard that (booing). It was a big surprise to me. I really don’t get it.

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“For what he has done for England Rugby – he is one of the greatest players to wear that shirt – and for some fans to treat him like that is ridiculous.

“You won’t find many people with a mentally tougher approach than Owen, so for him to feel like this is the step he needs to take is worrying in a sense, but also very brave and good of him to do so.”

Farrell’s rugby attention will now be concentrated on Saracens’ domestic and European campaigns this term.

And Malins added: “I have no doubt that this is a reset and refresh for him.

“This season, there is no club rugby being played during the Six Nations, so it would be good for him to actually take a proper break away from the game and essentially reset.

“I have no doubt that the competitor he is, the leader and player he is, he will 100 per cent bounce back from this and come back as good as he was.”

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Red and White Dynamight 2 hours ago
Duhan van der Merwe hat-trick sinks sloppy England to win Calcutta Cup

Up the Jocks ! a great team effort and 4 victories v on the bounce v their greatest rivals for those north of Hadrians. But, of course, before the celebrations survive the first pint of McEwans, it seems for some this Calcutta Cup match was merely 1 man v 15. What exactly is it about Sth Africans that make them such insufferable bores ? you rarely see Kiwis claiming Ireland victories (incl 3 x NZers) or Aussies for that matter (X1). You never see Samoans claiming France/England victories (Tuilagis). Or Fijians claim All Black victories. Scotland have had some great Kiwi-born players (S.Lineen/B.Laney/J.Leslie) - no surprise given their heritage - but they supported them as their ‘2nd team’. If anything they applaud their countrymen for taking opportunities and bettering themselves as professionals and, hopefully, competing on the World stage too. It takes some stratospheric level of stupid to ignore the opaque boundaries and qualifications that now allow Japan to be competitive, Portugal to win a RWC game, Argentinians to play for Italy, New Zealanders to dominate Tongan and Samoan teams - and not celebrate that World Rugby is more competitive and better for it. Everywhere on social media, even when the post has zero to do with Sth Africans (schoolboy rugby being the most obvious barrel-scraping eg - these are KIDS), they pile in and try to claim the “we are better/stronger/faster” with such voluminous levels of obnoxious bile, that it poisons the mere celebration of the sport itself. These are not ‘rugby fans’ that can marvel at the Game they Play in Heaven, but rather some misplaced insecure-fuelled poison that they need to extract from deep inside their psyche. Its hard to understand the exact reason for the massive chip on their shoulders and their desperation for the victimhood/noone-loves-us-we-dont-care, but it seems accelerated with their LOTTO Cup 1-pt wins, like gasoline on the fire. Obsessed with ‘cheating’ refs and ‘cheating’ opposition (Rassies video bloopers during Lions tour; McCaw’s whole career) and celebrating their own thuggery (#JUSTICE4 the dirtiest player in pro-rugby history), when luck suddenly goes their way (1995 Final vs an acutely comprimised ABs; Kilosi<->Cane cards in 2023 Final) or their players escape adequate penalty (Etzebeth 1-handed non-intercepts; Kolbe illegal chargedown; Etzebeth cynically retreating in the AB backline) so obviously that its clearly been coached, then suddenly its AOK as long its SA that benefit directly from it. The schizophrenic nature of Sth Africans presents them as good company in person - and lets face it, theyre EVERYWHERE now and cant get out of their own country fast enough - but as anonymous keyboard ninjas their true nature shines out as one beset with a dark undercurrent of toxic self-absorption. It appears that the bravado appears only under the protection of anonymity, a cowardice of insufferable reverse-flagellation to make themselves feel proud when the mirror stares back at them. Give yourselves a long slow clap. Well done to the entire Scotland team including all those born south of Hadrians Wall. Playing a fantastic fast pace of fluid ball-in-hands rugby that seems almost foreign to other teams. Och aye the noo.

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