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'Let's return to reality - Ireland must exercise caution'

Irish expectation soars as Andy Farrell's team sweeps all in its path, but cool heads are needed if they are to heed mistakes of the past

Praise for Farrell for having 'the bollox to talk to Maro like that'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The Rugby Pod has delivered a glowing endorsement of Owen Farrell and his leadership in Saracens’ latest Gallagher Premiership final win, including the way he boisterously shouted at Maro Itoje to relay instructions on his behalf late in the game.


The England skipper was given the man of the match award for his role in piloting the Londoners to their comeback 35-25 victory of Sale at Twickenham and his influence on proceedings was a major talking point on the podcast co-hosted by Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton.

It was at 33-25, just before Farrell shaped up to land his final conversion of the showpiece with about eight minutes remaining, when he was spotted shouting at his club and country colleague Itoje a message he wanted to be given to the rest of the team before Sale’s George Ford got around to the post-conversion restart kick from halfway.

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Fans give their honest reaction to Saracens winning ANOTHER Premiership Rugby title
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Fans give their honest reaction to Saracens winning ANOTHER Premiership Rugby title

Ex-Saracens player Hamilton was sat in amongst the Farrell family in the Twickenham stands and he was nothing but impressed with what he saw from them while watching Owen go about the business of skippering his team to its first Premiership title success since 2019. “I’m sat there with his family, watching their interaction,” began Hamilton.

“They are cool as cucumbers. They are winners. I’m sat there with all the Farrell team. So Andy Farrell, Owen’s mum, his brother, his sister, the kids. We [the Hamiltons] are up there screaming, armpits sweating everywhere, dripping, and there was no sweat on any of them [the Farrells]. They are just cool, calm, collected and they are winners – and that is what Owen is.

“Owen very rarely shows hysteria in emotion unless he wins something. Watch his emotion when he wins, that is how much it means to him. His processes are very different… that emotion and the dynamics around it, it’s all to see now, he is running the show.

“Yes, the coaches are (in charge) but they have nurtured that, they have embraced that, they have manipulated that because they know the importance of him and giving him the keys to the kingdom.


“He has got the confidence and has got the bollox to talk to Maro like that – and Maro is a decent player in his own right. I’m not saying George Ford doesn’t do that. Dan Biggar does it to his players as well… Johnny Sexton does it. Unapologetically as well.”

Co-host Goode, the ex-England out-half, added: “You overstep the mark sometimes, no doubt. I used to do it at the clubs I was at, but the difference when Owen does it is he is playing at the top of his game and he is the leader and he is the one you can’t even question anything he does because look at his performances on the pitch, he is out of this world.

“He has added so many strings to his bow this year, like ball-playing skills. There was a flip out the back at the weekend as well. He is just ridiculous in a 10 jersey, head and shoulders above anyone else, and when you are the leader, when you are the boss, you are that driver of a team. That is what brings the best out of other players when you have that much intensity. He is the king, basically.”

Hamilton agreed, going on to question why coaches such as Eddie Jones and Steve Borthwick with England and Warren Gatland with the Lions have picked Farrell at inside centre rather than at out-half. “I thought this at the weekend when I was sitting watching him play and he was up against Ford, going to 12 ruined him a bit.


“He wanted to be in that position because he was put in that position and he wanted to play for England and the Lions. Naturally, he is going to be like, yes, but I reckon that was the blip in his career… How is everyone else picking him there? That is the weird thing. You have got some of the best coaches in the world that are picking him at 12.

Goode understood. “He [Farrell] is an alpha 10 that needs to be running the show. I have said it millions of times. Moving to 12 he is nowhere near the player he is because he can’t influence everyone in that same way.

“They [other coaches] are looking at it from a different view of, ‘I want to get my best players on the field in any which way’ and what Owen has done is shown everyone that he is the king at 10 and that is where his strengths are. Yes, he can fill a role at 12 if it is best for the team and he is never going to say, ‘No, don’t f***ing pick me at 12, I want to play 10’.

“You ask in an interview, he is happy to play 12 but deep down he wants to be the boss and when you give him that backing that he has got with the players around him and his own abilities, he is by far the best 10 comfortably in the Premiership and some.”


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