Owen Farrell will be available for 2024 Lions tour if he moves to Racing 92

By Sports Desk January 11, 2024

Owen Farrell will still be available for the 2025 British and Irish Lions tour to Australia led by his father Andy if he joins Racing 92 next season.

Owen is considering a lucrative move to the Top 14 having spent his entire club career at Saracens, making him ineligible for England selection until he returns to the Gallagher Premiership.

The 32-year-old fly-half has already ruled himself out of the Six Nations in order to prioritise his and his family’s mental wellbeing, placing his international future in doubt.

But the Lions insist overseas-based players will be considered if Farrell wants them in his squad, even if the finish date of the Top 14 means they might be unavailable for the early games.

“We don’t have a policy that closes off anyone from being selected,” chief executive Ben Calveley said.

“If you just look at previous Lions tours, we’ve had people come on a tour who haven’t been playing for a national side.

“Will Greenwood is a great example, even though we are going back a way there (1997). In 2021 Finn Russell was based in France, so we don’t have any restrictions on selection.”

Farrell will lead the Lions for the first time as reward for his success with Ireland, who he has led to a Grand Slam, an historic 2-1 series victory in New Zealand and to the top of the world rankings.

And he would be willing to pick Owen if his performances justify a place in the squad as the Lions aim to win their first series win since Australia in 2013.

“We’ll consider everyone in regards to whether they will make a difference too the Lions touring party. That’s all that matters,” Farrell said.

“It’s about form, it’s about watching the game properly. Selection, as far as that’s concerned, is the same as for everyone else. No different.”

Farrell insists he has not spoken to Owen, England’s captain since 2019, about his possible move away from Saracens but backs any decision the three-time Lions tourist makes.

“It’s his choice. He does what he thinks is right for him in that moment in time. You can’t go wrong in that regard, can you?” Andy Farrell said.

“It’s a player’s prerogative. It’s their career and it’s a short career. You’ve got to do things that float your boat, that make you and your family happy.

“A career is all about the memories you’re going to create, not just for yourself but for others as well.

“For some, it’s the thought of devoting yourself to one club is extra, extra special and Owen has done that at Saracens.

“But if things do change, and I don’t know whether they will or they won’t, then it will be for the right reasons for doing the right thing for whatever that person needs to do to be happy.”

Farrell worked as an assistant under Warren Gatland on the 2013 and 2017 tours, experiences that left a lasting impression on the 48-year-old Englishman.

“I love everything above the format. I lover the build up to the games. I love how tough that is for the touring party and all the different dynamics that go with that,” Farrell said.

“When it goes to one-all and the Australians are so relieved like in 2013 – you saw the captain on the floor with tears in his eyes cos you knew what it meant.

“Getting yourself back up that week to put in a performance like we did in the third Test is a memory that will stay with you forever. I’m hoping for another one.”

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