Owen Farrell backed to take England to 2023 Rugby World Cup

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Farrell took over captaincy duties from Dylan Hartley  (Getty Images)
Farrell took over captaincy duties from Dylan Hartley (Getty Images)

England should be led to the 2023 Rugby World Cup by Saracens captain Owen Farrell, according to former Northampton Saints and England player Dylan Hartley.

Farrell took over England captaincy duties from Hartley in 2019 and he says despite the introduction of Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith in the international set-up, Farrell shouldn't be brushed aside.

“Marcus does all the silky, flash stuff that captures the Instagram reels and YouTube highlights, but his basics are really strong as well,” Hartley said.

“But that doesn’t mean Owen’s not in the team. I don’t think we should doom and scaremonger around Owen’s position. He’s played 10 and 12 and has shown he has the ability to play front foot, attacking rugby. For me England look at their best with two distributors.”

Questions have been asked about Farrell’s captaincy after England finished fifth in the 2021 Six Nations and he was dropped during the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in the summer.

Farrell was included in Eddie Jones’ training squad for the autumn internationals so it seems his position in the side is safe for now. Other players weren’t so lucky with many experienced stars completely falling out of the side.

Fly-half George Ford, No 8 Billy Vunipola, prop Mako Vunipola and hooker Jamie George were all not named in the latest announcement.

Three of the stars play for Saracens, who are back in the Premiership after being promoted last campaign. Head coach Mark McCall says Jones dropping them will add extra motivation when they are on the pitch.

“Obviously for some of our players, it was disappointing. But knowing those players and knowing how motivated they are to play for England, I think Eddie wants to see a response and I’m sure you’ll see that.

“We want them to play for their country.”

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