He will continue to play for Saracens while stepping away from the national team


England captain Owen Farrell will take no part in the 2024 Six Nations, with his club Saracens citing the need to “prioritise his and his family’s mental wellbeing”. The fly-half or centre will continue to play for and captain his club during time away from the Test stage.

Farrell captained England to a third-place finish at the recent Rugby World Cup in France, narrowly missing out on a place in the final after a one-point loss to South Africa in the semi-final. Also during that tournament, he broke Jonny Wilkinson’s all-time points record for the men’s side.

However he began the tournament with a suspension, missing the opening two games against Argentina and Japan while serving an adjusted ban in the wake a red card in the warm-up match against Wales. The saga around a red card that was thrown out by a disciplinary panel, only to be appealed – and reinstated – in the aftermath of a World Rugby appeal, seemed not to affect him. He was a steadfast figure through England’s run in the World Cup. Yet today, the 112-cap star is taking time away from the white of England.

Farrell made his Test debut in 2012 and led England to a World Cup final in 2019, as well as winning the Six Nations in 2016, 2017 and 2020 – the last one as captain.

Statement from England as Owen Farrell pulls out

On the move, England boss Steve Borthwick said: “Everyone at England Rugby is fully behind Owen’s decision.

“Since making his debut, he has been an integral part of the England set-up for over a decade and the demands on elite athletes are extremely challenging.

“He is an exemplary player, captain and leader and always gives his all for his country.

“It is with typical courage that Owen has made this decision to open up in this manner. Together with all of us at England Rugby, I will do everything I can to ensure that he has the support he requires going forward.”

England begin their Six Nations campaign on 3 February against Italy, in Rome.

Who do you think should lead England after Owen Farrell pulls out of the Six Nations? Tell us at rugbyworldletters@futurenet.com or on social media

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