Owen Farrell and George Ford have come through the ranks together and the former insists their friendship has not bee affected by the selection for the game against Wales

When you’ve known someone a long time it takes a lot to disrupt that friendship, and Owen Farrell insists that even though he has replaced George Ford in the England starting lineup their bond remains as strong as ever.

Ford’s father, Bath coach Mike, described his son as being ‘devastated and gutted’ when he found out he would start on the bench for the big game against Wales on Saturday.

Farrell and Ford have known each other since their school days; progressing through the England youth ranks and into the senior squad.

And Farrell, the elder of the two by 18 months, says their friendship remains as strong as it was last week, describing them both as ‘obsessed with the game’ and ‘probably a bit boring’.

“We have been exactly the same. Absolutely normal. We talk about everything anyway, it’s pretty open between us,” Farrell said, quoted by the Press Association.

“It’s exactly the same as it was last week, as it was in the autumn when he got picked and I went on the bench. Exactly the same.

“We’ve played with each other since we went to school together at 13 or 14 and then played for England at Under-16, 18 and 20 levels. We are just open with each other.

“Rugby-wise we are two people who are obsessed with the game. We like to talk about it and we are probably a bit boring – all we talk about is rugby.”