THE SURNAME Farrell might have raised eyebrows when it was included in England’s interim coaching set-up yesterday, but the indications are its presence at Twickenham is only likely to increase.
While former dual-code international Andy Farrell, 36, was something of a surprise choice as one of temporary head coach Stuart Lancaster’s assistants, there will be little shock if his son follows him into the national set-up.
Owen Farrell, the 20-year-old Saracens fly-half, has been steadily winning over swathes of admirers since breaking into the first team last year, and the plaudits have just swelled this season.
Whispers of an England call-up have been gaining in volume – Sarries bosses such as Brendan Venter have championed his Test potential – and there is a growing feeling he will be named in the Elite squad in January.
Certainly it can do his international chances no harm to have his father embedded in the England camp, although there could be little argument if he did win a deserved Test bow in 2012.
His timing is opportune. Toby Flood, long seen as the future at No10, has struggled to make the shirt his own, while veteran Jonny Wilkinson’s days appear numbered.
Farrell senior, meanwhile, appears to be making a bigger slash in union as a coach than he did as a player.
Despite winning eight caps and helping England reach the 2007 World Cup final, the former Great Britain captain and Wigan mainstay struggled to live up to huge expectations after switching codes in 2005.
He retired in 2009 and accepted a coaching role at Saracens, where he had played, and impressed sufficiently to be promoted to first team coach last year.
Sarries director of rugby Mark McCall said: “For those of us who work with him on a daily basis, this role is not a surprise as we all know his qualities.”
THREE WISE MEN | ENGLAND’S INTERIM COACHING TEAM
Head Coach: Stuart Lancaster
The current coach of the second-string Saxons side and the RFU’s head of player development has the chance to enhance his burgeoning reputation.
Assistant Coach: Graham Rowntree
Lions prop-turned coach Rowntree was one of the few members of the England set-up to emerge from the World Cup with his reputation enhanced. Liked by players .
Assistant Coach: Andy Farrell
Great Britain and Wigan rugby league star who switched to union in 2005, winning a handful of England caps. Has excelled as a coach at Saracens, where his son Owen has become a Premiership rising star.