Former England lock Dave Attwood has revealed that Owen Farrell “hates him with a passion” after a disparaging comment he made about rugby league.
Farrell has played rugby union for his entire professional career, although he did start out in the 13-man game as a child growing up in Wigan, while his father Andy was playing for the Wigan Warriors.
For those not in the know, rugby league is traditionally seen as a working class game which is primarily played in northern England, while rugby union is seen as a middle class game which is primarily played in the south of the country.
Attwood was speaking on the RugbyPass Offload podcast and revealed that when the pair were England team mates, Farrell took offence to him referring to rugby league as a “peasant’s” game.
Dave Attwood on his relationship with Owen Farrell.
“He’s the best 10 in the world, he is incredibly good, I have got enormous respect for him as a player but I get very frustrated watching him as a player, playing against him,” Attwood said.
“He hates me with a passion. Despite my earthy roots, he thinks I am a posh cunt. He hates that. I bagged rugby league once, jovially. I was saying it to take the piss kind of thing, ‘Oh, it’s a bloody sport for the peasants’.
“He fucking hated it and out in Italy or maybe France he fully lost the plot. He had a bit of a shout at me and went off to the toilet and I followed him. We all had a drink or two after the game but we didn’t need to get carried away with this.
“I was in the urinal behind the door and he was three or four down and as I got in his dad walked in as well, he was coaching at the time.
“He said, ‘I don’t want to fucking hear it’ or something like that and as he walked out he went to open the door and slam it into the back of me. There was like a stop on the floor so it hit the stop and almost clocked him back.
“We never really addressed it after that. That was where it started and it was like a drunken little bit of argy that went too far.”
Never make fun of Rugby League in front of Owen Farrell ✍️ pic.twitter.com/vXx8G2gC0k
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 25, 2022
The two see less of each other now.
Farrell is England’s captain now of course, although Attwood never served under the Saracens man, having last played for England in 2016 when Dylan Hartley was skipper.
Although they don’t play with each other any more, they do still come up against one another in the Gallagher Premiership, as Attwood plays for Bristol Bears while Farrell still plays for Saracens.