May 20, 2024


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6 Nations 2023 – England captain Owen Farrell on bench against Blues?

6 Nations 2023 – England captain Owen Farrell on bench against Blues?

6 Nations 2023 – Owen Farrell demoted? The England captain could take his place on the bench for the 4th match of the 6 Nations and the “crunch” against France. A decision that could have dire consequences for coach Steve Borthwick, who took charge of the XV of the Roses.

Marcus Smith Holder, Owen Farrell on the bench? In any case, that’s what the English media are announcing two days before the “crunch”, thinking Saracens’ starter will be demoted from Harlequins to the detriment of his youngest son. However, England captain Owen Farrell has been one of coach Steve Borthwick’s strong men since taking over as head of selection at the end of 2022 after Eddie Jones was sacked.

Captain Ellis Kenge

Holder in the first three games of the tournament, captain each time, Farrell first came into contact with Marcus Smith on day one and during the defeat against Scotland. Initially adjusted to the young Smith’s vulnerability, Farrell was not really convinced despite wins against Italy and Wales.

Ellis Genge will take the England captaincy against the Blues if Owen Farrell takes his place on the bench. He already held the role under Borthwick’s spell with Leicester last season. The collaboration worked as the English club won the Premiership in the final against Saracens.

For the first time since the 2015 World Cup

It was a very strong first choice for Steve Borthwick, perhaps the most important since the start of Eddie Jones’ tenure. Putting Owen Farrell on the bench (over 104 points and 1100 points in England alike) while he has his way is not uncommon. In fact, we have to go back to the 2015 World Cup match against Fiji to find an opener sidelined with XV de la Rose. It had already won 33-11 at Twickenham. George Ford was his favorite at the time.

Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith during the XV de la Rose match at Twickenham in November 2021
PA Images / Icon Game

“He will always be the captain, whether he is captain or not, he will always do his part the way he does. Kevin Sinfield, England’s defense coach said. Whether he starts or changes, he will continue to be a great leader for us.” The decision was a huge no-no for Owen Farrell. To face France’s XV, Steve Borthwick seems to prefer the intensity and youth of Marcus Smith. It was a strong message sent to the Blues by establishing Smith and his attacking profile. The English will not deny the challenge of the game and will not hide behind the management of Owen Farrell.

47% success in leg

Since the start of the tournament, Owen Farrell has had a woeful 47% win rate against the Poles. Against Wales, he missed four of six attempts, leaving the Welsh in the game even though the English won in the end. Now is the time for Marcus Smith to firmly establish himself in England’s starting XV. A fight against Romain Ntamack will be the most interesting to follow between two of the best talents in the world at their position.

A win over France is vital for England, who have had a nightmare 2022 (6 defeats in 12 games, worst record since 2008). A third in 2021 and a fifth in 2022 will see England resume six months from the World Cup. And the rose tip on the right side of a hit during the “crunch”.

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