Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall has criticised the “shameful” remedy of Owen Farrell after the England fly-half opted to take a break from worldwide rugby for psychological well being causes.
Farrell has chosen to overlook the Six Nations, which begins in February, “in order to prioritise his and his family’s mental wellbeing”.
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The shock choice comes after the 32-year-old led England to a third-place end on the current World Cup, his aspect shedding to eventual champions South Africa within the semi-finals.
Farrell, who has lengthy been a divisive determine for some rugby followers, was despatched off in a warm-up recreation towards Wales, which resulted in a four-match ban, that means he missed England’s opening two fixtures on the event in France.
He got here underneath fireplace on social media and at occasions was booed by sections of the group throughout the World Cup.
McCall stated he was impressed with Farrell’s performances in mild of the criticism he was dealing with — the fly-half grew to become England’s all-time report factors scorer in France.
“It’s remarkable that he played the way he played during the World Cup, if we take into account how he was feeling,” stated the Saracens boss.
“He is a person who is right on top of his game at the moment, yet he and his family have been made to feel the way they feel. It is shameful. It’s not right,” he stated.
“I’ve worked with Owen for 15 years, every day, and the person that has been portrayed in the media bears no resemblance to the person I know. He’s a family man, they’ve always come first.
“There was a narrative created and started and that’s been there for quite some time. There’s only so much that someone can take.” World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, himself a former England captain, stated he hopes Farrell can return to worldwide rugby “reinvigorated”.
“You don’t ever want to live in a society where somebody like Owen Farrell, who has been a great servant to rugby, should be booed when he’s playing for his country,” Beaumont informed the BBC.
“It’s very disappointing for him and his family and he obviously feels he needs a break away from the spotlight of the international game to recharge his batteries and come back.”
Wales head coach Warren Gatland additionally threw his help behind Farrell.
“It is a sad day for rugby and a sad day for sport to see someone of Owen’s standing in the game have to make the decision to walk away from the international stage just to protect his family,” Gatland wrote in a column for The Telegraph.
“It has gone too far. Even though the players are in the spotlight and earning good money, they come under incredible pressure despite coming out week after week to put their bodies on the line for club and country.”
The Times’ rugby correspondent Alex Lowe described Farrell’s scenario as “disgusting” and “a shameful day for a sport that prides itself on respect.”
England start their Six Nations marketing campaign away to Italy on February 3.