Farrell has been linked with a move to Racing 92
England captain Owen Farrell caught everyone off guard when he announced his break from international rugby. The fly-half has been a stalwart for England since making his debut in 2012, clocking up over 100 caps and becoming the men’s team’s all-time leading point scorer.
Farrell has dedicated over ten years to his country and while he has won trophies and been one of the best fly-halves in the world, he has also received abuse from fans. The skipper was even booed by his own England supporters before the Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Fiji in October. He has cited his and his family’s mental health as the reason he is stepping away from the white shirt.
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Now he is no longer bound by the RFU’s rule that England players must play in the Premiership, there are reports Farrell may be moving away from club Saracens too. Racing 92 is the rumoured destination according to reports in France. The club have denied an agreement is in place but there was no comment on if talks have been held.
And who can blame Farrell? Why can’t he explore this opportunity after giving his all for club and country for so many years?
With England he has claimed three Six Nations titles, the Autumn Nations Cup and finished second and third in the Rugby World Cup.
He was, at the time, the youngest player to make his professional debut in English club rugby as he took to the field just 11 days after his 17th birthday in 2008. Farrell has gone on to win six Premiership titles, three Champions Cup and been named European Player of the Year twice during his time at Saracens.
Farrell abroad: Why it’s the right move
To now look to France for a new experience and potentially more money is not only something he has every right to do but something he has earned. And Farrell has not hung up his international boots. If he takes a move to France now, it is widely thought he would move back to the Premiership in order to fight for a 2027 Rugby World Cup spot.
It should be a career path that other England players adopt and many may follow Farrell abroad as it is is already a popular choice for international players that can still represent their country while playing overseas.
Courtney Lawes has taken a similar route to Farrell but has gone one step further as he has retired from international rugby to spend more time with his family. He would definitely still have an England spot if he wanted one, he was Premiership Player of the Month for December. He has also been linked with a move to French club rugby at the end of the season as Northampton try and keep their star man.
Winning almost everything in rugby, dedicating years to club and country and then exploring an exciting and attractive financial opportunity while still at the peak of your powers? It sounds like a perfect path to me.