The former captain will not take part in the 2024 championship

He has been a constant presence for the best part of 12 years but why is Owen Farrell not playing for England in the Six Nations?

Steve Borthwick’s former captain shocked the game in November when he announced he was taking a step back from the international arena to prioritise his mental wellbeing and that of his family.

Related: England Six Nations squad

Farrell has been a target for some vociferous criticism in the past, one flash point came when he was sent off in the World Cup warm-up against Wales. Only for the red card to be dismissed and then reinstated upon appeal.

Farrell was also booed by his own England fans during the Rugby World Cup in France last autumn and the social media backlash and in-person negativity appears to have taken its toll.

Farrell not playing for England: Move to Racing 92

The Saracens skipper is now set to move to Paris in the summer to join Racing 92 and play in France’s Top 14. The French club announced that a deal has been done although it has yet to be made official by Saracens with a transfer fee in the region of £500,000 reportedly yet to be paid.

Farrell is thought to have signed a two-year contract which means you will not see him in an England shirt until summer 2026 at the earliest. That is because, as the rules currently stand, players who play outside of the Gallagher Premiership cannot be selected by England.

Read more: Opinion: Farrell has every right to move abroad – he could be a trend-setter

However, Farrell would likely be available for a fourth straight British and Irish Lions tour, this time under the leadership of his dad Andy Farrell, who was confirmed as the head coach for the 2025 tour to Australia.

We could also see Farrell return to the Premiership after his contract with Racing 92 – where he will link up with the man who gave him his England debut, Stuart Lancaster – and make a bid to appear at the 2027 Rugby World Cup, also down under.

Related: Wade says Farrell is “in for a treat” under Lancaster at Racing 92

Only time will tell what the future holds for the 32-year-old. But, for now, one thing is for certain – you will not see him in an England shirt during this Six Nations.

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