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Shocked Saracens teammate breaks silence on Owen Farrell exit bombshell

By PA
Owen Farrell - PA

Owen Farrell’s service to English rugby has given him the right to leave Saracens on his own terms, according to Jamie George.

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Farrell has held talks with Racing 92 over a move to the Top 14 leaders at the end of the season in a shock development that has come in the wake of his decision to miss the Six Nations in order to prioritise his mental wellbeing.

By departing for Paris, the nation’s record point scorer, talisman and veteran of 112 caps would become ineligible for selection by Steve Borthwick.

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George is a leading candidate to replace the 32-year-old as England captain and, while he hopes his long-term team-mate stays at Saracens, he insists any move would come with the Gallagher Premiership champions’ blessing.

“The news was as much a shock to us as it was to everyone. It’s all speculation at the minute so I don’t know any more,” Funding Circle ambassador George said.

“Like when he decided to take a step back from international rugby, for me what Owen is doing is prioritising himself and his family.

“He’s a very intense guy and I don’t blame him for stepping back from the international game and out of the spotlight for a little bit.

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“If he believes that going abroad is the best thing for him and his family, I would be very supportive of that.

“Obviously he would be a very big loss to everyone at Saracens because of the player and character he is, but there’s no guarantee that he is going.

“He’s given so much to the club, so much to the game and so must to English rugby as a whole.

“He deserves to make his own decision and whatever he decides to do he has the full support of everyone at the club.”

Unless Borthwick opts for a leftfield pick, either George, George Ford or Ellis Genge will lead England in their Six Nations opener against Italy on February 3.

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George, the nation’s undisputed first choice hooker who is set to be offered a ‘hybrid contract’ by the Rugby Football Union, has previously captained Saracens and the Lions.

“I’m hugely flattered to be in the conversation,” said George, who is poised to recover from a neck injury in time to face Bordeaux on Sunday.

“Obviously I’ve played with Owen my entire life so captaincy is something that has always fallen to him, and rightly so because he’s incredible.

“I have led teams before so it is something that I would really embrace and really enjoy.

“But regardless of who it’s given to, they will have my full support. I don’t see it changing who I am or how I am in and around camp, regardless.”

George has been involved in the creation of Team England Rugby Ltd, a new company that will replace the Rugby Players’ Association to negotiate with governing bodies on contracts and commercial matters.

“We’ll definitely still be working with the RPA in terms of welfare and we’ll be encouraging all the England players to still be members of the RPA because they do brilliant things,” George said.

“It isn’t anything to do with money. Team England is a non-profit organisation. We are not saying we are badly paid, we are fully aware that we’re well paid for what we do.

“But ultimately we want the players to be at the forefront of Team England day in, day out.”

Jamie George is an ambassador for Funding Circle. For more information on Funding Circle and its range of financial products, see: https://www.fundingcircle.com/uk/

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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