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Stringer: Farrell a 'hothead'

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Peter Stringer: 'Hothead' Farrell to be targeted by Ireland

Former 98-test halfback Peter Stringer has labelled England captain Owen Farrell as a ‘hothead’ in the lead-up to the blockbuster Six Nations opener between Ireland and England in Dublin this weekend.

The ex-Ireland international’s comments comes in the wake of a turbulent couple of days where a war of words has been instigated by members of the England coaching staff.

England defence coach John Mitchell yesterday claimed that Ireland will try to ‘bore’ his side into defeat, while head coach Eddie Jones has suggested that Irish pivot Johnny Sexton receives preferential treatment from officials.

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Speaking to Sky Sports, Stringer said that Farrell, of whom he played with during a loan spell at Saracens in 2011, is prone to being easily wound-up, which would be an attribute of which Ireland would target at Aviva Stadium.

“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 said.

“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.”

Farrell will return to the English starting side after recovering from thumb surgery, while others, such as Brad Shields, Joe Cokanasiga and Ben Te’o, are all expected to sit out after sustaining various injuries.

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Peter Stringer: 'Hothead' Farrell to be targeted by Ireland