It has taken Owen Farrell precious little time to impress with his game management and goal-kicking prowess for Saracens in the Premiership, in European competition and at the highest level. Eight years ago, he was the youngest player at the time to make his debut in the professional game and this May, he became the EPCR European Player of the Year and the first recipient of the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy. He was given the accolade after Saracens retained the European Champions Cup by beating Clermont Auvergne in the final at Murrayfield.
During his initial 52 Tests for England, he put over 219 place kicks out of 274, including 16 out of 18 in the 2015 RWC and all his seven attempts in the 25-21 victory over Wales at Twickenham last March. The following week Owen became his country’s second highest points-scorer behind Jonny Wilkinson, with 16 against France taking him past Paul Grayson’s total of 400. He also finished the 2016 RBS 6 Nations Championship as both the tournament’s top scorer with 69 points and England’s acting captain after an injury to Dylan Hartley.
Owen’s highest match points’ aggregate is 26 against Scotland this March when England secured the Six Nations Title. He landed 11 of his 12 kicks at goal. It surpassed the 24 he achieved in both the first and third Tests against Australia at Brisbane and Sydney in June 2016. Overall, he missed only three place kicks in 26 attempts during the three-Test clean sweep and amassed 66 points. He had been unflinching in defence during the second match in Melbourne, produced a nerveless kicking display under extreme pressure and pounced for a memorable try at the end.
His 19 points against South Africa last November included his fifth touchdown and, the following week against Fiji, he became the second England player after Jonny Wilkinson to reach 500 Test points. He went on to score 62 points in the four-match Old Mutual Wealth Series and this February threw the pinpoint pass that sent over Elliot Daly for the decisive, late try in the 21-16 victory over Wales in Cardiff.
Owen had won selection for the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour of Australia and he made his debut for them off the bench in the 41-16 win over Australia that clinched the series in Sydney after being an unused replacement for the Tests at Brisbane and Melbourne.
He landed seven kicks from eight attempts against Scotland at Twickenham in the opening RBS 6 Nations Championship match of 2013, became man of the match and then landed four out of six as Ireland were beaten 12-6 in Dublin. Owen had an identical return against France that February, having also become the Premiership Player of the Month for January 2013. His 14 tackles against Scotland at Murrayfield in February 2014 were the most by an England player. Owen became one of three England vice-captains for the Scotland match at the start of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations Championship and swept over for his third Test try – and his second against Italy – in Rome eight days later.
Three days after being nominated alongside All Blacks Richie McCaw and Dan Carter and Frédéric Michalak of France, as the 2012 IRB Player of the Year, he played a vital role in England’s record win over New Zealand and scored 17 points, including his first dropped goal in Tests. His maiden try followed in the 20-13 win over Australia at Twickenham in November 2013 and he has now scored 936 points in 92 Premiership matches.
He also helped the club lift the Premiership title for the second successive year with 13 points in the 28-20 win over Exeter Chiefs in the Twickenham final. In 2015/16, he was the top points-scorer in the European Champions Cup with 127 and in the Six Nations Championship with 69 but missed the first month of the 2016/17 Premiership season through a back injury.
A knee ligament injury sustained in a match against Clermont Auvergne in January 2015 ruled him out of the RBS 6 Nations Championship only ten days before the initial game against Wales in Cardiff. He regained fitness and became man of the match when contributing 18 points to Saracens’ 28-16 victory over Bath Rugby in the 2015 Premiership final. Selection for the Rugby World Cup training squad followed and he returned to the England team against France at Twickenham that August.
Owen had added to his two appearances for the 2011 Grand Slam England U20 side with another four in the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy. He landed five penalty goals and converted the only try of the Premiership final by James Short when Saracens won the title for the first time, by beating Leicester Tigers 22-18, at Twickenham in May 2011.
His earlier kudos include a Heineken Cup Man of the Match award when Saracens edged out Racing 92 by 19-14 in December 2010 after he had made a powerful impression for England U16, a side he captained, and for the U17 and U18 teams.
When returning from an England U17 tour of Argentina, he trained with his father and fellow Saracen Andy, a rugby league icon who won eight caps at union for England, including three in the 2007 RWC. When Farrell Snr fractured and dislocated a thumb against Western Force in August that year, Owen joined the match as his replacement.
A product of St George’s School in Harpenden, Owen studied Business at Hertfordshire University and also spent time on loan with Bedford Blues. He began playing rugby league at the age of eight, for Wigan St Patricks, like his father. Owen most admires All Blacks fly half Dan Carter and wore the No.12 jersey at union, also his recent Test role, before switching to fly half.
Rugby’s distinctly in the family with loose forward Sean O’Loughlin, his uncle, playing for Wigan Warriors, England and Great Britain. His father Andy, who was Saracens’ first-team coach and a former England backs coach, had followed a similar path.
603 points – 5T, 85C, 134PG, 2DG
2012 S, It, W, F, I, SA (1,2R,3R) Fj(R), A(R), SA(R), NZ 2013 S, I, F, W, A, Arg, NZ 2014 F, S, I, W, It, NZ(2), NZ, SA, Sam, A(R) 2015 F, I(R) World Cup – Fj(R), W, A, U 2016 S, It, I, W, F, A(1,2,3), SA, Fj, Arg, A 2017 F, W, It, S, I
Lions: 2013 A (3R)
Last updated: 6 June 2017