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'What's the hate around Owen Farrell in the media...'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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A former Saracens teammate of Owen Farrell has questioned the media narrative that wanted the England skipper pushed out of the Eddie Jones squad he was named as captain of last week. The 30-year-old has since had to pull out of preparations for the upcoming Guinness Six Nations opener versus Scotland on February 5, his club confirming last Friday that he had suffered a training ground injury setback.


However, Jim Hamilton, the retired ex-Scotland international, hasn’t let the general reaction to the selection of Farrell in last week’s England squad announcement go unchecked as he referenced it early in this week’s latest edition of The Rugby Pod, the show he co-hosts with Andy Goode, the ex-England out-half. 

Here is how their Farrell/England conversation unfolded on a show where they had later had Edinburgh boss Mike Blair and Montpoellier’s Zach Mercer on as guests: 

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HAMILTON: “Goodey, tell me this and I don’t think we have ever spoken about this, Owen Farrell, Faz, a good friend of mine and a friend of the show, what’s the hate around him in the media about him not being in the squad? It might have been me because I started it.”

GOODE: “Jim, every time you talk about him you say, I don’t like him because he thought I was s*** and all this stuff. So the big question around Owen Farrell, he hasn’t played since the November internationals. There is obviously always question marks. 

“You go back to last year’s Six Nations around Eddie Jones picking a lot of the Saracens boys that hadn’t played at all. He is the only one that has been kind of granted not a special dispensation but he is in the squad without being picked on form or fitness. Sam Underhill, who unfortunately got injured again at the weekend, is out of the squad because Eddie Jones doesn’t think he is fit, he has had a few head knocks and all this stuff, wants him to get some game time under his belt. 


“Elliot Daly, same thing. He has come back from injury and said he is best off playing for Saracens for a few games and getting some fitness. I actually did a column for RugbyPass saying how great the squad was from Eddie Jones form in terms of he was picking on pure form apart from Owen Farrell and Orlando Bailey is the other one with George Ford being out but he is now back in because Owen Farrell is out

“When it’s your captain and he’s your leader and he has been out there is going to be questions around Owen Farrell and Eddie Jones has said, ‘Listen, I am picking him because he is our captain, he is our leader, the energy he brings to the England side in terms of the winning mentality and everything around the training week and leadership on the field he is integral to Eddie Jones. 

“I don’t really get it [the media hate] but blame you, Jim. It started with you when you said you don’t him because he said you were s*** and he doesn’t like you because you are s***. That is how it started.”

HAMILTON: “It could well have done and for the influential person that I am, I am not going to apologise for it but I look at all the other captains and again I have only had a snapshot of some of the media stuff and obviously social media and you take that as the rule of thumb, don’t you, these days. 


“But Alun Wyn Jones, a guy that I buried. I questioned him but everyone else backed him in the media and he rocked up and they [Wales] won the Six Nations. Johnny Sexton, questioned him as well. But I have not questioned Faz in terms of him being in the squad or in the team, but everyone else in England seems to be. 

“What I am saying is I just find it a little bit weird that every other kind of tier one nation or big team captain there is not many people questioning but with Faz for some reason, when he got injured in the Autumn Nations and the Courtney was captain, everything coming out of camp was like oh it’s a much happier place.”

GOODE: “Are you putting words into people’s mouths?”

HAMILTON: “I don’t really know, I just don’t understand why there is this narrative around trying to push Faz out. He is the captain. Any other captain it would be like mate, like Johnno [Martin Johnson] for example, you’re in regardless if you have only got one leg. 

“I am not saying that Faz is Johnno but there just seems to be an underlying thing about him but anyway he is injured. He has seemingly injured his other ankle and what you are hearing coming out of Saracens it doesn’t sound good for him. We do wish him a speedy recovery.”



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