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Owen Farrell reveals the 100th cap moment that was 'a bit awkward'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Inspiring England captain Owen Farrell has revealed the one moment about his milestone 100th Test cap that felt awkward this weekend. It wasn’t anything that took place on the pitch on Saturday in the bonkers 25-all draw with the All Blacks. Instead, it was the glowing tributes paid to him the previous night by his teammates that left him feeling a touch queasy.

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It was February 2012 when the now 31-year-old was first capped for his country and he has now become only the third men’s player to earn 100 England caps, following in the footsteps of Jason Leonard and Ben Youngs.

Farrell, though, wasn’t getting caught up in the hype surrounding his new membership of a very exclusive England club. “It’s a special game anyway,” he said about the rare match with the All Blacks.

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“The lads said a few things last night [Friday], which was really nice. I’m not used to it, felt a bit awkward but it is special. I don’t want to downplay it. I’m not taking it for granted, but there was a job to do this week in a big game and the most exciting thing for me was the performance of the lads. It was a special game and I’m glad I was part of it.”

With England having emerged with a draw that looked unattainable until the final minutes, Jones chided the media at his post-game briefing for their generally hard-nosed perception of Farrell and called on them to show some kindness for a change to the captain.

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“Owen’s leadership was fantastic,” he enthused. “100 Tests, third highest point scorer in the game, he led the team, kept the composure of the team, and when there was a chance to put down the foot we did it. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to get the credit he deserves so maybe today you can be kind, find some kindness in your heart and give him some credit. It might even make him smile when he picks up the paper tomorrow. Just try to find a bit of kindness in your heart.”

Let’s hear some more from Farrell about what he felt was the most exciting part of his big day, the performance of the lads. “The belief shown by the team in that second half was outstanding. I felt we were always in the game even though it didn’t reflect it, especially on the scoreboard in that first half.

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“As Eddie said, some other teams, even better teams, would have dropped off and it didn’t feel like we were going to and then in the second half, we knocked on the door for a good 20 minutes at the start of it and didn’t quite get the points back that we thought we wound but we stayed at it and had proper belief. I’m proud of the team for that.”

Especially pleasing, he added, was the determination of the youthful England half-backs. “Jack van Poortvliet didn’t look flustered after he made the mistakes. There are loads of young lads that come into Test rugby and go into a big game like today and make a mistake and just don’t want to make another mistake.

“He wasn’t like that, and I thought Marcus (Smith) was brilliant. I thought he was lively. I thought he was at it the whole game and when the opportunities came he was ready for them.”

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Shaylen 2 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 8 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Sopoaga is going to be more than good enough to look up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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