Comentários do leitor

It's Farrell v Farrell as father Andy goes head to head with son Owen

por Bernie Bonnett (2020-03-23)


Back in Tokyo during the Rugby World Cup, Andy Farrell spent a week trying to act like a normal dad. After Ireland were knocked out in the quarter-finals, he made a reservation for dinner with his wife, Colleen. They booked in at Gonpachi restaurant which was full of rugby fans and movie buffs who wanted to eat in the dining room where Kill Bill was filmed.

Farrell wanted to enjoy the occasion like any other parent. He left behind his Irish tracksuit at the hotel and, squeezing in with the rest of the supporters, caught the subway from Shinjuku station to watch his son, Owen, captain England against the All Blacks.

'I did the whole fan-family thing on purpose to get back to how it felt before all this even happened,' said Farrell Sr. 'I enjoyed the atmosphere and understood what it meant for my wife and kids. The hardest part is certainly for Colleen, 100 per cent. And Owen's sisters and the young fella Gabriel. It's weird for them. I was back to being a parent again and that's tougher than being a coach against your son.'








Owen Farrell awkwardly tried to maintain his poker face when he crossed paths with his father







RELATED ARTICLES


Previous

1

Next




MIKE BROWN: England must sort out Eddie Jones' contract as... 'It's been intense, it's been tough but I've enjoyed... 'It's an amazing club to be at': England sedappoker winger Elliot Daly... Meet the best No 8 in England! With Billy Vunipola injured,...




Share this article

Share






For the past decade or so, Andy's relationship with his son has been dictated by rugby. In the early days, they were team-mates at Saracens. 









Then they were colleagues at England, where it became a coach-player dynamic throughout the 2015 World Cup. And on Saturday, they will be enemies when Ireland and England meet in the Six Nations.

It is a dynamic that the Farrells try to play down. During their time with England, they would drive home separately from Pennyhill Park, even though they lived a stone's throw apart in Harpenden. Keeping up professional appearances was their priority.

'You'd never hear Owen calling Andy 'Dad',' said England team-mate Mike Brown. 'They wouldn't sit together at lunch and talk about what they were doing for dinner on Sunday. They didn't share lifts home. It was strictly business. 

'They would do it on purpose. If they didn't speak the same, act the same and look the same, you would have no idea they were related! 

'The only time you'd see them act as father and son would be post-match when all their families were there.'






Keeping up professional appearances has been a priority for Andy Farrell and son Owen


As colleagues, the challenge was to avoid accusations of favouritism. Farrell Jr was a young star in the English ranks, but there was a constant danger that his selection could be met by cries of nepotism. It was not ideal, but at least they shared a common goal.

'They're two of the most competitive guys you'll meet,' said Brown. 'Little Faz is like a clone of his dad. Same mannerisms. Same drive. Andy would even join in with little touch sessions with Mike Catt. They may have been a couple of older fellas but they were desperate to cut us open.'

Now the two competitors have conflicting interests. One's failure will be the other's success. At the Six Nations launch last month, Farrell Jr awkwardly tried to maintain his poker face when he crossed paths with his father at a photo call. 






For the past decade or so, Andy's relationship with his son has been dictated by rugby














This week will be about outwitting one another. As head coach, Farrell Sr will be in charge of composing Ireland's game plan. Taking out England's key men and directing heavy artillery in his son's direction. As captain, Farrell Jr will be in charge of conducting England's strategy. There will be an element of surprise so his dad's shoulder will not be there to lean on.

'You mentor your son all the way through their career so you know every facet of their game,' said former England coach Mike Ford, who has previously coached against his son, George, the England No 10.

'I was a defence coach for Newcastle the first time I was up against George. My wife Sally Anne used to give it to me. "Don't you hurt my son!" she said. 'She was 100 per cent on George's side. That's mums for you. 

'You're always trying to make a plan to stop the opposition 10 — and that was George, the playmaker. You want to rattle them and put them off their game. You want good line speed and you want him running into the big guys who can tackle. That's what you do week in, week out.






As captain, Farrell Jr will be in charge of conducting England's strategy at Twickenham


'If the players noticed that you were doing it differently because you're up against your son, they'd see straight through you. If anything, you've got to turn up the volume and go a little bit harder.'

At least the Farrells are used to it by now.

For 80 minutes at Twickenham next week, it will be anything but father and son time.






Father and son will be enemies when Ireland and England meet in the Six Nations on Sunday







RELATED ARTICLES


Previous

1

Next




MIKE BROWN: England must sort out Eddie Jones' contract as... 'It's been intense, it's been tough but I've enjoyed... 'It's an amazing club to be at': England winger Elliot Daly... Meet the best No 8 in England! With Billy Vunipola injured,...




Share this article

Share