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Owen Farrell on his shot clock fiasco; breaking England points record

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Ramos/World Rugby via Getty Images)

New all-time England record points scorer Owen Farrell has reacted to his 64th-minute shot clock gaffe in Lille. An 18th-minute penalty kick had allowed the skipper to surpass the 12-year-old points record that had stood since the 2011 retirement of Jonny Wilkinson, but an attempted kick 46 minutes later also saw him create history by becoming the first player to be beaten by the shot clock.

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England were trailing 11-17 and scrambling to avoid a shock Rugby World Cup pool defeat to Samoa when Farrell placed the ball on the tee in front of the posts just outside the 22.

He had a full minute from pointing at the posts to make his kick. However, he got lost in the moment and only struck the ball between the upright after his 60 seconds were up.

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Rather than signalling three points for England, referee Andrew Brace instead awarded a scrum to Samoa and with Kyle Sinckler then infringing at the set-piece, the six-point gap remained intact.

In the end, Farrell went on to score the winning points, converting Danny Care’s 73rd-minute try against a then 14-man Samoa who had suffered a yellow card after Tumua Manu had needlessly illegally collided with Farrell.

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Even then, England were left reliant on a last-gasp tackle from Care on Neria Fomai just metres from the line with 75 seconds remaining to ensure the one-point victory for Steve Borthwick’s already-qualified quarter-final team and save Farrell’s shot clock blushes.

“I was unaware, I didn’t see the clock,” explained Farrell in the post-game aftermath. “It was above where I was picking my target and I obviously got lost a little bit in the kick, but that’s not good enough. Thankfully, I am glad for the team’s sake it didn’t cost us. Hopefully, that mistake doesn’t happen again.”

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Switching to the England points record he wrested from Wilkinson early in the game, Farrell added: “I’ve not got too many thoughts. It’s a massive honour to be even in contention, to be around long enough to be in contention.

“The lads have just given me a nice presentation – a framed picture and a gift – in the changing rooms which was nice, but my focus has fully been on us this week and it will probably be on us over the next couple of days as well. It might be something I will look back on and appreciate more later on, but having said that it is a huge honour.

Asked for thoughts on Farrell beating Wilkinson’s points mark, Borthwick said: “It’s testament to a man who has dedicated himself to being the very, very best he can be. The best player he can be, the best leader he can be the best person around the squad and he is an incredible role model.

“I was chatting with a couple of people yesterday [Friday] and their young children, I asked who do you look up to most? It was this man [Farrell]. For this guy to have an impact on so many lives, he is such a great role model.

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“It is a privilege for me as coach to be able to work with him and hopefully there will be many more times he will be in that England shirt and continue to play as well as he does.”

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J
Jon 23 hours 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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