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Owen Farrell dismisses 'hothead' claims

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Owen Farrell hits back after 'hothead' claims

England captain Owen Farrell has dismissed the ‘hothead’ claim made by former Ireland halfback Peter Stringer earlier this week.

The ongoing war of words between the two nations has rolled into the eve of their colossal Six Nations opener in Dublin, with the likes of England head coach Eddie Jones, defence coach John Mitchell, and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt all throwing verbal shots at one another in the week leading up to the clash.

Stringer was among those to get involved, labelling Farrell – a former teammate during his brief loan spell at Saracens in 2011 – as a ‘hothead’.

“Eddie will have them fired up, and you see the likes of Owen Farrell: he’s in charge of everything they do, being captain and having all that responsibility, but he is a hothead,” he told Sky Sports on Tuesday.

“I’ve played with him, he loves that physical side of things, but you can get under his skin, you can rattle him. He is a guy they’ll be looking to get after.

“If things go well for Farrell, on the front foot he’s a great player but going backward he’s a guy who loses the rag completely, which you don’t want from your captain.”

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Chasing greatness ?. The achievements of @owenfaz and @jonnywilkinsonofficial at age 27. Farrell could win a third Six Nations this year but will turn 28 during the Rugby World Cup. With many years still left in his career, will he surpass Wilkinson as England's greatest 10? @englandrugby @saracensofficial @falconsrugby #goatstatus #englandrugby #sixnations #6nations #rugby #saracens #gallagherprem #premrugby #rugbyunion #englishrugby

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Speaking to The Guardian a day out from the eagerly-anticipated contest, Farrell questioned the credibility of Stringer’s comments, saying that his personal growth over the past eight years have made him a different person to the one that played with the former 98-test star.

“I don’t know how long ago it is I played with Strings; it seems like a long time ago,” he said.

“I don’t know if he thinks I’ve not changed. He’s entitled to his opinion. I’m competitive, I’ll look to do my job on the field and that’s all that matters.

“Everyone has changed, haven’t they? Everyone tries to get better, everyone tries to grow. I’m happy with how I am and the way things are going.”

Farrell also emphasised the importance of keeping a cool head while bringing a necessary level of physicality and aggression, especially when playing in high-stake matches away from home.

“It’s always a balance … being clear-headed but being aggressive and as combative as you need to be,” the 27-year-old said.

“It’s a passionate place with a passionate crowd and they’re a passionate team. You’ve seen from those big Munster nights and the big Leinster nights in Dublin how tough those places are to go.

“That probably says you need to get your start right, stick in the fight and take it to them. They’re a tough team and it’ll be a tough game but we can’t wait to play them.”

Farrell has overcome injury concerns about his thumb to start at first-five for the eagerly-anticipated match, which kicks off on Saturday at 4:45pm local time.

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Owen Farrell hits back after 'hothead' claims