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The ‘cheat’ solution to the Wilkinson vs Farrell Immortals XV debate

By Liam Heagney
(Graphic by BT Sport)

Gallagher Premiership players have had their say on whether Jonny Wilkinson or Owen Farrell should be selected on the BT Sport Immortals XV team. The sports broadcaster has been getting fans to select their Immortals XV before the selection culminates in a round-table debate show on May 27 featuring Ugo Monye, Lawrence Dallaglio, Ben Kay and Austin Healey.


Marcos Ayerza, Schalk Brits, Martin Castrogiovanni, Maro Itoje, Martin Johnson, Joe Worsley, Neil Back, Dallaglio and Danny Care have all topped fan polls in recent days and with a vote for the No10 position currently taking place online, BT Sport have now added the views of numerous high profile current players to the past versus present debate.

George Ford, who will start at out-half for Sale against Leicester in this Sunday’s Premiership semi-final, said: “Probably Farrell, how competitive he is, the leader he has turned into, his skill set, his physicality… but I can’t choose between the two, to be honest.”

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Alex Goode, who goes into semi-final battle with Farrell and Saracens on Saturday versus Northampton, reckoned: “I have not played with Jonny. Owen is a leader during the week, taking the group to another level as much as he is playing – it’s just phenomenal.

“But I guess getting the winning drop goal in the (World Cup) final puts Jonny up in a different echelon for now, but Owen has a chance in this next World Cup so hopefully he can get to that level.”

Saracens hooker Jamie George chose his teammate. “I’ll say Farrell because without him I don’t think I would have won anything.” Nostalgia, though, tipped the balance for Henry Slade in favour of Wilkinson. “Tough. Wilkinson was always the guy I looked up to growing up.

“He comes into (England) camp and I have done a fair bit of kicking with him – he’s awesome. I played with Owen a lot and he is an unbelievable leader, an unbelievable player. Probably just nostalgia. I’ll go with Jonny.”


Care, Manu Tuilagi and Charlie Ewels all came up with the same suggestion to play Wilkinson and Farrell as a 10/12 together. Care said: “They are very similar in character and in ability. Both incredible athletes, incredible winners, competitors. I’m not splitting them. I’m going to play them 10/12 together.”

Tuilagi added: “Play them together.” Ewels suggested: “They are different, they can play together 10 and 12. Jonny Wilkinson is like a childhood hero. I was eight years old watching him win the World Cup, so he became an early rugby hero. It’s very difficult to look past him but I am going to cheat, one at 10 and one at 12. I’d have both of them.”

BT Sport’s Premiership Immortals celebrates the greatest players in the history of Premiership Rugby. From May 4 until the Premiership final on May 27, fans will be able to have their say on who they think deserves to have a spot in the competition’s all-time team. Cast your vote 



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