Andy Farrell says ‘circus’ surrounding son Owen’s disciplinary is ‘disgusting’

By Sports Desk August 17, 2023

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell has branded the “circus” around son Owen Farrell’s disciplinary process “absolutely disgusting”.

The England captain’s participation in the World Cup is in fresh doubt after World Rugby appealed against the decision to overturn his red card from Saturday’s clash with Wales.

An independent disciplinary panel caused an outcry on Tuesday when it cleared 31-year-old Farrell to play following his shoulder-led tackle to the head of Taine Basham, which was expected to result in a significant ban.

England head coach Steve Borthwick has subsequently opted to leave the Saracens fly-half out of his squad for Saturday’s World Cup warm-up clash against Ireland in Dublin.

Farrell senior, who concedes his view on the situation is not impartial,  expressed anger at some of the intense criticism his son has faced.

“Whatever I say is probably flawed anyway,” said the 48-year-old.

“When you’re talking about somebody’s son and asking the question, it’s always going to be flawed, so what does that really matter?

“I don’t normally say too much because of that type of reason about my son.

“But what I probably would say at this moment in time is that the circus that’s gone on in and around all of this is absolutely disgusting, in my opinion, disgusting.

“I suppose those people that have loved their time in the sun get a few more days to keep going at that.”

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    Mo Hunt insists England are ready to thrill a bumper audience at Twickenham when they face Ireland in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations on Saturday.

    A crowd of up to 50,000 is expected to watch the Red Roses continue their Grand Slam quest in their first match at the venue since last year’s rollercoaster victory over France that clinched the title.

    England have averaged 47 points a game in their three wins to date but Hunt wants the attack that has been enhanced under head coach John Mitchell to take another step forward.

    “We just want it to click for us. There are 47,000 in Twickenham from what I have been told and we want to put on a show,” said the Gloucester-Hartpury scrum-half, who is enjoying a Test resurgence since missing out on the 2022 World Cup.

    “The best is yet to come for us, I truly believe that. We’ve spoken about the discipline and the penalties, but also our one-team attack – every time we train it is starting to look better and better.

    “I just want it to click so you can all see what we are seeing in training because we’ve not got there yet.

    “I’m really enjoying the way we are trying to play, how positive everything is and the way we are trying to go after defences. It’s the way I want to play rugby.”

    England have a 100 per cent record in the tournament despite seeing Sarah Beckett and Amy Cokayne sent off against Italy and Scotland, respectively.

    The red cards have fed into the ‘game is unfair’ mantra adopted under Mitchell as the Kiwi looks to turn the game’s dominant force into world champions by preparing them for moments when circumstances have conspired against them.

    Lydia Thompson’s dismissal for a high tackle on Portia Woodman that contributed to England’s defeat by New Zealand in the 2022 World Cup final has given Mitchell’s message powerful affirmation.

    “When Mitch put a picture up of Lyds and said ‘the game isn’t fair’, it hit so many of us in our hearts because Lyds is the most unbelievable human and obviously that moment was tough for everyone,” Hunt said.

    “I’m not saying it was the right or wrong decision, but sometimes the game is unfair and when you go down to 14 in a final you have to fight your way out of that.

    “If I’m in the thick of these decisions all the time and every time I don’t quite agree with something, that sentence genuinely rings true. I think, ‘game is unfair – move on’.”

  • Julian Nagelsmann to stay on as Germany coach until after 2026 World Cup Julian Nagelsmann to stay on as Germany coach until after 2026 World Cup

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    Former Bayern Munich boss Nagelsmann was appointed in September last year as successor to Hansi Flick, who was sacked after a poor run of results.

    The German FA said: “The 36-year-old’s new contract runs until the conclusion of the next FIFA World Cup in 2026 in the USA, Canada and Mexico. In September last year, Nagelsmann initially signed a contract up to and including EURO 2024.”

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    Nagelsmann said: “It’s a decision of the heart. It’s a great honour to be able to coach the national team and work with the best players in the country.

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  • John Mitchell wants England to ‘continue to play on the edge’ despite red cards John Mitchell wants England to ‘continue to play on the edge’ despite red cards

    John Mitchell has instructed England to continue playing on the edge despite the disciplinary issues that have marred their Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

    The Red Roses have been shown two red cards in three matches, with number eight Sarah Beckett dismissed in the opener against Italy and hooker Amy Cokayne sent off against Scotland.

    Both opponents were crushed despite England being reduced to 14 players as they continue their march to a sixth successive Championship title with the visit of Ireland to Twickenham on Saturday.

    While Mitchell wants technique to be refined where needed, he views his team’s physicality as an important weapon.

    “I want us to continue to play on the edge, but I also want us to be aware around how we need to change our behaviour,” the Red Roses head coach said.

    “In Amy’s incident, she needs to get her head under the ball. Obviously that’s something you put the ownership on the individual to change.

    “We probably let the pressure off on Scotland. There were a number of times when we had the foot on their throats. We’d rather that turn into attack for us.

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    Beckett received a three-match ban for a dangerous clearout while Cokayne’s two yellow cards for a dangerous clearout and dangerous tackle resulted in a one-game suspension.

    Both players will be available for the probable Grand Slam decider against France on Saturday week.

    England had rehearsed for the eventuality of losing their number eight and hooker in the build up to each game after defence coach Sarah Hunter had presented them as scenarios in training.

    “We’ve told Sarah Hunter not to give us any more scenarios!” captain Marlie Packer joked.

    “So she might have said at the beginning of the Six Nations ‘eight go off the pitch’. That might have happened.

    “And then last week ‘hooker you’ve got a card, go off’. And that might have happened in a game. So we’ve kind of told Sarah not to do that any more!”

    Almost 50,000 are expected at Twickenham on Saturday and in anticipation of the atmosphere, England have adapted training at their Surrey base.

    “Early on in the week, when we do more low-key training in the barn inside, we can put crowd noise in. I personally loved it,” he said.

    “It paints a different picture for us. It’s been a new thing that we’ve brought in this week which has raised our game. Hopefully we can put it out on the pitch on Saturday.”

    Packer has been restored at openside for the visit of Ireland, forcing Zoe Aldcroft to move from back row to lock, while Lark Atkin-Davies replaces the suspended Cokayne at hooker.

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