Owen Farrell v Jonny Wilkinson: How do the England No 10s compare?

How does England's current No 10 compare to the Red Roses' most famous one of all?

Owen Farrell is very much his own man. A determined, focused and outrageously talented individual, he grabbed the Aviva Premiership by its horns to lead Saracens to their first title since the 1998 Tetley’s Cup victory, and first ever triumph in the top tier of English rugby. Since his breakthrough season, Farrell has gone on to seize the England number 10 shirt and make the position his own. Which as always raises the question; is he the next Jonny Wilkinson?

The way the Wigan-born fly-half has progressed reflects the rise that Wilkinson experienced when he was brought into Sir Clive Woodward’s squad when he was an emerging 18 year-old. Despite attempts to wrestle the shirt from Wilkinson’s possessive reputation, not one of Charlie Hodgson, Olly Barkley, Andy Goode or Toby Flood could make it their own, with Wilkinson even returning to take his country to another World Cup final in the most unlikeliest of campaigns in 2007.

But suddenly there is an air of excitement that England’s new outside-half will carry the team forward, and since his international debut against Scotland in a 6 Nations opener last year, he – along with the disciplined coaching style of Stuart Lancaster – have taken this squad to pastures new. So how does he compare with his predecessor when Wilkinson was out the same point in his career?

When England met Wales in their round one fixture of the 2001 6 Nations, a then 21 year-old Wilkinson pulled the strings to a 44-15 victory at the Millennium Stadium. Just a week later, he would break his mentor Rob Andrew’s record for points scored in a 6 Nations, claiming 35 points in the 80 – 23 rout over Italy. Despite missing out on the Grand Slam, Woodward’s men would still claim the championship, and later that year Wilkinson would head to Australia with the British and Irish Lions as the starting 10 due to an injury suffered by Neil Jenkins.

Fast forward to now, and the similarities are uncanny. A 21 year-old Farrell has seen his side make the top spot of the 6 Nations table their own with three games to play – two of which are at Twickenham. He is quickly putting himself in the frame for a Lions starting berth, and while the apparent holder of that shirt Jonathan Sexton limped out of the game yesterday, he is expected to start the first test at the Suncorp Stadium in June. However, don’t tell Farrell that Sexton has cemented his position just yet.

Lancaster’s side find themselves just two years shy of a home World Cup, with the preparations well under way to find the right squad for the tournament. It is very much the same position Woodward found his side in – mid-way through a four year cycle which would ultimately end in World Cup glory.

There is still a long way to go if England are to win their first Grand Slam for a decade, let alone to start thinking of World Cup glory, but there is no doubting that Farrell is following some very famous footsteps along the way.

Owen Farrell v Jonny Wilkinson

Wigan (1991) Born Surrey (1979)

14 England Caps 91

9.93 Points per game 12.96

 

How Wilkinson compared with Farrell after his first 14 caps:

0 Tries 1

11 Conversions 32

38 Penalties 34

1 Drop Goals 0

139 Points 171

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup