England head coach Eddie Jones hails Owen Farrell as an ‘icon of the game’

Owen Farrell has been hailed as the “icon of the game” who will lead the England Resistance this autumn, but Courtney Lawes will remain captain as the countdown to next month’s World Cup resumes.

Farrell is on course to earn his 100th cap against New Zealand in Twickenham on November 19, but despite this forthcoming achievement, Eddie Jones believes his country is underestimating him.

For all his impact on the team, Farrell was replaced as captain last fall, initially with ankle problems that also forced him to miss the Six Nations, but most recently when Lawes relocated to Australia for the tour due to his superior communication with the referees July was retained.

If Lawes recovers from the concussion he sustained while on club duty for Northampton last month, he will continue as skipper but Jones insists Farrell remains a formidable presence for England.

“If we don’t have Owen, we lose a big part of our fight. He’s the most energetic and one of the most committed rugby players I’ve ever seen,” said Jones.

“We need that. But we also need someone who is composed and who speaks well with the referee. We need both.

“You know Owen is the third highest points scorer in rugby history? He’s one of the greats in the game.

“He’s won every trophy in the world except the World Championship and he’s got a silver medal, which isn’t bad. Sometimes I think he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.

“Some players have that resemblance. When you’re a tough, brave player like Owen, it’s harder to be liked. That’s the reality.

“He’s combative, he’s very focused on the game and he doesn’t open up very much. That’s the reality. But he’s an icon of the game here.

“He’s bringing the Saracens back to life now – they’re playing fantastic rugby again. We’re hoping to get this Owen with all that fighting spirit for the next month.

England open the Autumn Nations Series against Argentina on November 6, aiming to get off to an explosive start after Jones drew on the knowledge of Mikel Arteta, who has guided Arsenal to the top of the Premier League this season.

The conversation took place during an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting of coaches from various sports.

“We have this fantastic group. Mikel Arteta came to camp last fall and we had a really good chat. He’s a super smart young coach,” Jones said.

“Because of Covid you now have these zoom conferences. It’s like Alcoholics Anonymous. We all go in and share our problems and everyone tells you what they think. It’s awesome.

“We have Mikel, Matt LaFleur, the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, George Karl, who is an NBA Hall of Famer, Mike Dunlap, who was Michael Jordan’s head coach when he bought the Hornets.

“We have all these guys in the same room. It’s going to be awesome when we all get together for a beer. It’s gonna be so much fun. Then it will be Alcholics Anonymous.

“We just share stories and problems and try to come up with ideas on how to move the coaching forward. Mikel Arteta is a brilliant young man.

“I learned from him how quickly Arsenal can get out of the blocks. They are there for every game. They play with energy, they know how they want to play, they put the opponent behind. In rugby, 75 percent of tests are won by the team that scores the first try.”

Exeter’s Namibian-born mainstay Patrick Schickerling has been dropped from England’s 36-man squad on eligibility grounds as Jones seeks clarification from World Rugby on whether he qualifies on residency grounds.

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/eddie-jones-owen-farrell-england-b2204734.html England head coach Eddie Jones hails Owen Farrell as an ‘icon of the game’

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