Father v Son: Farrells set to face off in key Ireland v England Six Nations clash
Family ties will be put to the test at Twickenham on Sunday, as England, led by captain Owen Farrell, host Andy Farrell’s Ireland.
The father-son pairing make up one of modern rugby’s greatest family dynasties, and it’s difficult to imagine two fiercer competitors in the game.
As they prepare to go head-to-head, Farrell Snr, has admitted that the situation is ‘weird’.
“It’s weird for you guys but it’s certainly not weird for us because it’s never been any different.
“It’s as professional as it gets because that’s all we’ve ever known with Owen being a professional and me being a professional coach. It’s never been any different.”
It’s a dynamic which is becoming increasingly familiar to Andy Farrell, who has been involved in the Irish coaching setup as defence coach since 2016, seeking to blunt an England attack led by his son.
However, since stepping up to succeed Joe Schmidt as Head Coach, he is all too aware of the increased attention ahead of this weekend’s match, and will be putting sentiments to one side from the coaching box.
“You want your son to perform. You speak to any parent who is watching their son play for Ireland at the weekend, your fingers are crossed, hoping it goes well.
“When you’re a coach, you don’t feel like that. You don’t hope it goes well, you’re assessing things and you’re seeing how the plan is coming together or not. So you’re busy in your mind as a coach, you’ve got a distraction.”
The Farrell v Farrell showdown adds an intriguing subplot, as both England and Ireland seek to keep their Six Nations campaigns on track.
Ireland remain unbeaten after impressive victories against Scotland and Wales, and will be full of confidence as they seek to seal the Triple Crown.
England’s campaign has stuttered so far by comparison, rebounding from a disappointing defeat to a young French team by seeing off Scotland in blustery conditions. Defeat on Sunday would all but end their chances.
Both Farrells will have a large say in the outcome of the result, with a firm business-like handshake from the two men expected at the final whistle.