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Brian O’Driscoll backs Owen Farrell for Lions test spot


O’Driscoll has called for Farrell to start for the Lions.

Brian O’Driscoll has backed Owen Farrell to start for the British and Irish Lions against the Springboks after the Englishman impressed against the Sharks.

Farrell has had a poor season by his standards, as the England captain struggled to find form during a disappointing Six Nations campaign, while he had little chance to impress for Saracens in the Greene King IPA Championship.

However, Farrell returned to form in the Lions’ 54-7 win against the Sharks on Wednesday night, as he controlled the game excellently from fly-half in a complete 50-minute performance.

Brian O’Driscoll on Owen Farrell.

The 29-year-old wasn’t originally even in the match-day squad for the Lions’ game against the Sharks, but after a  number of players were ruled out due to Covid-related reasons Farrell stepped up to the plate at number 10 (without actually having the number 10 on his back).

Former Ireland and Lions captain O’Driscoll was clearly impressed with Farrell’s performance, as he backed him to win a place in the Lions’ test team, although he noted that he was not sure whether to put him at 10 or 12.

“Reckon you have to have Owen Farrell in your test team! Just a matter of where,” O’Driscoll tweeted.

The battle for the Lions’ number 10 jersey.

While Dan Biggar is currently the favourite to start at fly-half for the Lions’ first test against the Springboks, Farrell’s versatility means he has a great chance of winning test caps on his third tour with the best of Britain and Ireland.

Finn Russell is also certainly still in the conversation, although his maverick style of play isn’t what Lions head coach Warren Gatland normally looks for in a fly-half.

While Biggar was the man of the match in the game against Japan, his participation in the first test against the Springboks could be under some doubt, after he was pulled out of the game against the Sharks.

One Lions player has tested positive for covid, while a further eight are isolating as they have been deemed as close contacts, with Biggar understood to be one of the nine aforementioned players.

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