Saracens saga could galvanise England, says Andy Farrell

  • Rugby
  • Thursday, 23 Jan 2020

Rugby Union - Six Nations Launch - Tobacco Dock, London, Britain - January 22, 2020 Ireland head coach Andy Farrell during a press conference Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

LONDON (Reuters) - The Saracens situation hanging over the England camp as they gather for the Six Nations could galvanise the squad according to Ireland coach Andy Farrell, the father of England and Saracens captain Owen.

Saracens will be automatically relegated at the end of the season for repeated breaches of the Premiership salary cap and players from other clubs are being encouraged to raise any grievances at a "clear the air" meeting when the squad gather later on Wednesday for the first time since the World Cup.

Farrell senior, now head coach of Ireland but a former dual code international for England and a player at Saracens, said he felt the move into the international arena this week could be just the relief the beleaguered Saracens players need.

"I've spoken to him (Owen) but, as far as players are concerned, they have a lot of ups and downs that they need to deal with every week. This is something that players need to deal with," he told reporters at the Six Nations launch on Wednesday.

"When you make the change into another environment, I think that's going to be really refreshing. In a national camp you become in a bit of a bubble and I see (coach) Eddie (Jones) using it to galvanise England a little bit as well."

Farrell said it was a sensitive issue for his son, who, like his team mates, does not know what his playing situation will be next season when England's most successful club start operating in the second tier championship.

"There are a lot of questions still to be asked and answered," he said. "I don't think they've got all the facts together of what that future looks like."

Owen Farrell began the long day of media appointments by saying he was on site to talk about England, but he was nevertheless bombarded with questions about the scandal that has rocked the domestic game.

Talking about the planned get-together at England's Pennyhill Park base, he said: "It won't be difficult no, we’re excited to get into camp and get into the rugby. We’ll be honest and up front about it, come through it and get on with what’s in front of us."

Jones said a few beers might oil the wheels but also expected the issue to be dealt with quickly so attention can turn to England's Six Nations opener away to France on Feb. 2.

"It’s a matter of getting the issues on the table and having a chat and spending some time together," he said. "You develop good relationships when you have time together."

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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