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The Christian Wade verdict on Saracens' Owen Farrell joining Racing

By Liam Heagney
Owen Farrell in action for Saracens last weekend (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Christian Wade has described the reaction at Racing 92 following the confirmation that former England skipper Owen Farrell is to join them on a two-year deal.


The 32-year-old was named on Monday as a new signing for the 2024/25 season, a move that will see the long-time Saracens talisman link up with director of rugby Stuart Lancaster, his England coach from 2012-2015.

It was earlier this month when it was first revealed that the Parisians were said to be “very close” to completing a deal for Farrell after he decided following England’s bronze medal finish at the recent Rugby World Cup that he would be taking a sabbatical from Test rugby for the 2024 Guinness Six Nations.

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That selection unavailability with England will now extend through to 2026 after Farrell opted to give life in the Top 14 a rattle with Racing rather than agree to extend his contract at Saracens.

It is quite the coup for Racing to secure the services of Farrell and Wade – who linked up with the Parisians in the summer of 2022 after his post-Wasps stint in the NFL at the Buffalo Bills came to an end – has now given his take on the appetising prospect of having the recent England skipper as his club teammate in France.

Speaking on behalf of after the news broke about the signing of Farrell, Wade said: “The place is buzzing. Owen is one of the best. I have known him for a long time since we were both capped by Stuart Lancaster.

“We have had some great fly-halves in the past at Racing like Dan Carter, Johnny Sexton and Finn Russell. Now it’s Owen and it’s great news.


“Stuart gave me my opportunity with England and took me on the tour to South Africa (in 2012). Owen was on that tour as well and we got to know each other then. It will be brilliant to have him in the building!

“There were quite a few of us who were called up by Stuart who knew us when he oversaw the age-group sides. Stuart changed England for the better when he took over and he was starting from scratch pretty much.”

Having just qualified for an early April Investec Champions Cup round of 16 tie away to Toulouse, Racing ironically return to Top 14 fare this Sunday evening at Toulouse and Wade is predicting that Farrell will like what he sees from the Parisians in the coming months before he joins them across the Channel.

“We are doing pretty well as a team; we are top of the Top 14 table,” continued Wade. “We have had quite a few new players and a whole new management team with Stuart coming in from Leinster.


“We are playing a different style of rugby. There is a bit more structure to it. However, there has been a huge improvement in the time that we have been together even though we have had so many changes.

“I’m enjoying it. Owen will too. Everyone is so welcoming. We are looking forward to what the rest of the season will bring. Our whole mindset is on starting to win championships.

“Stuart Lancaster is on a different level – the coaching is incredible and Owen is in for a treat. Stuart called me before he took the job at Racing just to get a feel for what it was like. In 2015, he was already a good coach and leader but now he is on a different level having helped to turn Leinster into the formidable force they are now.

“Before he went to Leinster he went round the world looking at how other sports worked and were run, including the NFL. He has picked up a load of leadership qualities to those he already had.

“I thought he was great the way he managed us with England. I was only 21 and very young. Now I am older and wiser and appreciate through my own experiences the things he has done and where he is now in his career. He is on a very different level from the past. I’m blessed and privileged to be able to work with him again.

“The coaching team is incredible and Owen is in for a treat. Frederic Michalak is our backs coach, Dimitri Szarzewski the forwards coach – both were French internationals. Ex-All Black Joe Rokocoko is the assistant backs coach and skills coach, and Yannick Nyanga is the assistant forwards coach.

“We have a phenomenal coaching staff now and Owen will love being involved with them. Racing 92 have the best coaching staff I have ever worked with.

“For me, it is the best full coaching staff I have ever been involved in. They have such experience and all have played at the highest level. To have as my backs coach someone who I watched growing up and was my hero, it doesn’t get much better than that.”


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1 Comment
mjp89 151 days ago

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