Owen Farrell: Racing 92 in talks with England captain, but deny reports agreement reached

French club Racing 92 have denied an agreement for England captain Owen Farrell to join when his contract with Saracens expires at the end of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership season; a move to the Top 14 would likely make the 32-year-old ineligible for England selection due to RFU rules

Last Updated: 05/01/24 7:58pm

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

If Owen Farrell moves to Racing 92, he would be ineligible to play for England for the length of his two year contract

If Owen Farrell moves to Racing 92, he would be ineligible to play for England for the length of his two year contract

Racing 92 are in talks to sign England captain Owen Farrell, but have denied an agreement has been reached.

Numerous reports in France on Friday stated Farrell, whose contract with Saracens expires at the end of the 2023/24 Premiership campaign, was on the verge of signing a two-year deal with the Top 14 team.

However, the six-time French champions released a statement via their official website on the same day refuting any agreement had been reached but not denying interest.

Sky Sports News understands talks are well underway.

Racing are coached by former England boss Stuart Lancaster, who gave Farrell his international debut in 2012.

Farrell, the son of rugby league great and Ireland national team head coach Andy Farrell has spent his entire club career in England, making his Saracens debut at the age of 17 in 2008 and spending time on loan with Championship side Bedford Blues in those early years.

He is currently taking a break from international rugby union after deciding to prioritise his and his family’s mental well-being, informing England head coach Steve Borthwick late last year he would be unavailable for the upcoming Six Nations campaign.

What would Farrell moving to France mean for England?

If Farrell were to move to Racing, he would likely be unable to play for the national team under current RFU eligibility rules.

The governing body’s regulations prevent England boss Borthwick from selecting players based overseas, meaning the 32-year-old – England’s record points scorer – would be unable to add to his 112 international caps for the duration of his contract with Racing.

There is an ‘exceptional circumstances’ clause which has previously allowed Jack Willis and Henry Arundell to represent the national team after signing for clubs in France following Wasps and London Irish respectively withdrawing from the Premiership due to financial issues.

However, this dispensation is unlikely to apply to Farrell as he would have chosen to join the Paris-based club of his own accord. Arundell will also be ineligible for England after agreeing a long-term deal with Racing.

England head Steve Borthwick said he admired captain Owen Farrell for his decision to step away from international rugby, but was hopeful he would return

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

England head Steve Borthwick said he admired captain Owen Farrell for his decision to step away from international rugby, but was hopeful he would return

England head Steve Borthwick said he admired captain Owen Farrell for his decision to step away from international rugby, but was hopeful he would return

Speaking to Sky Sports on Thursday, Borthwick expressed his hope the fly-half or inside centre would return to the England set-up after deciding to make himself unavailable for the Six Nations in the wake of the third-placed finish at last year’s Rugby World Cup.

“Let’s be clear, we’re all hoping at some stage he will come back into the England team,” Borthwick said. “Owen will make that decision, if and when he chooses to.

“There’s a big societal issue there that we need to be very conscious of, that rugby’s trying to get to grips with.

“We’re ensuring we’re giving every bit of support we can to the players and the families, to ensure we deal with all those other factors that are part of society now.”

‘A good chance this deal will happen’

Farrell in action for Saracens, who he made his debut for as a 17-year-old in 2008

Farrell in action for Saracens, who he made his debut for as a 17-year-old in 2008

Analysis from Sky Sports News reporter James Cole:

“Racing 92 have been quick to deny any deal has been agreed with Owen Farrell, but I understand talks are well underway and there is a good chance this deal will happen.

“It’s a deal that would signify a break from international rugby for the England captain. He’s currently having a self-enforced break to prioritise his mental health but if he were to sign a two-year deal with Racing, the RFU rules state that if you are playing your rugby outside of England you cannot play for England, therefore Farrell would be ineligible to play for England for at least two years. That would take us through to 2026.

“There is a Rugby World Cup in Australia in 2027 so Farrell’s future as an England player is very much in doubt.

“Were he to join Racing it would be a huge surprise because all the signs were that he was going to extend his stay with Saracens as a marquee player, so his wages would fall outside of the salary cap, and he would sign one of these new RFU hybrid deals. Twenty-five contracts whereby the RFU contribute to a player’s salary to help the Premiership clubs keep English talent in England.

“I should emphasise that no deal has been agreed or signed yet but talks are at an advanced stage on a deal that would not just have huge ramifications for Owen Farrell’s future but also the landscape of Premiership and international rugby as players face the dilemma of whether to represent their country or chase the financial benefit of playing rugby outside of England.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content