Saracens teammates shocked by reports of Owen Farrell exit, says Jamie George

Farrell has been linked with a shock move to Racing 92 in the Top 14

Duncan Bech
Tuesday 09 January 2024 09:43 GMT
Jamie George is a contender to succeed his close friend Owen Farrell as England captain
Jamie George is a contender to succeed his close friend Owen Farrell as England captain (PA/Funding Circle)

Owen Farrell’s service to English rugby has given him the right to leave Saracens on his own terms, according to Jamie George.

Farrell has held talks with Racing 92 over a move to the Top 14 leaders at the end of the season in a shock development that has come in the wake of his decision to miss the Six Nations in order to prioritise his mental wellbeing.

By departing for Paris, the nation’s record point scorer, talisman and veteran of 112 caps would become ineligible for selection by Steve Borthwick.

George is a leading candidate to replace the 32-year-old as England captain and, while he hopes his long-term team-mate stays at Saracens, he insists any move would come with the Gallagher Premiership champions’ blessing.

“The news was as much a shock to us as it was to everyone. It’s all speculation at the minute so I don’t know any more,” Funding Circle ambassador George told the PA news agency.

“Like when he decided to take a step back from international rugby, for me what Owen is doing is prioritising himself and his family.

“He’s a very intense guy and I don’t blame him for stepping back from the international game and out of the spotlight for a little bit.

Owen Farrell has taken a break from Test rugby and could join Racing 92 (PA Wire)

“If he believes that going abroad is the best thing for him and his family, I would be very supportive of that.

“Obviously he would be a very big loss to everyone at Saracens because of the player and character he is, but there’s no guarantee that he is going.

“He’s given so much to the club, so much to the game and so must to English rugby as a whole.

“He deserves to make his own decision and whatever he decides to do he has the full support of everyone at the club.”

Unless Borthwick opts for a left-field pick, either George, George Ford or Ellis Genge will lead England in their Six Nations opener against Italy on 3 February.

Jamie George (right) is close friends with Owen Farrell (Getty Images)

George, the nation’s undisputed first choice hooker who is set to be offered a ‘hybrid contract’ by the Rugby Football Union, has previously captained Saracens and the Lions.

“I’m hugely flattered to be in the conversation,” said George, who is poised to recover from a neck injury in time to face Bordeaux on Sunday.

“Obviously I’ve played with Owen my entire life so captaincy is something that has always fallen to him, and rightly so because he’s incredible.

“I have led teams before so it is something that I would really embrace and really enjoy.

“But regardless of who it’s given to, they will have my full support. I don’t see it changing who I am or how I am in and around camp, regardless.”

George has been involved in the creation of Team England Rugby Ltd, a new company that will replace the Rugby Players’ Association to negotiate with governing bodies on contracts and commercial matters.

Jamie George is a key voice within the England dressing room (PA)

“We’ll definitely still be working with the RPA in terms of welfare and we’ll be encouraging all the England players to still be members of the RPA because they do brilliant things,” George said.

“It isn’t anything to do with money. Team England is a non-profit organisation. We are not saying we are badly paid, we are fully aware that we’re well paid for what we do.

“But ultimately we want the players to be at the forefront of Team England day in, day out.”

Jamie George is an ambassador for Funding Circle. For more information on Funding Circle and its range of financial products, see:


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