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