“I think someone like Owen Farrell would be the first to admit it wasn’t his greatest Six Nations.”
Warren Gatland has acknowledged that Owen Farrell didn’t perform at his usual high standard in this year’s Six Nations Championship.
England finished fifth in the Six Nations as they won just two of their five games, and while that certainly isn’t solely down to their captain, Farrell did struggle to find form himself.
British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland was speaking on the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast and backed the Englishman to put the Six Nations behind him and rediscover his form while on tour in South Africa.
The squad has been selected, now the real hard work begins 💪
It’s all about masks…Altitude masks, so we’re acclimatised for what awaits us on the Highveld in South Africa 🏔
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) May 6, 2021
Warren Gatland on Owen Farrell in the Six Nations.
“I think someone like Owen Farrell would be the first to admit it wasn’t his greatest Six Nations. He’s won things so he knows what it’s like to lift trophies and play in big matches,” Gatland said.
“We can create an environment with a number of those players who potentially had what they would consider a disappointing Six Nations so hopefully they can thrive and get back playing with some confidence.”
‘I think he has timed his run to form really well.’
Farrell has had limited opportunities to impress outside of international rugby this season, as Saracens were relegated from the Gallagher Premiership last year on account of breaching salary cap regulations.
The England captain wasn’t the only Saracens player to be named in the Lions squad, as five players contracted to the north London club have been selected by Gatland and his coaching team – which is more than any other club.
Farrell hasn’t played any top-tier rugby since England’s loss to Ireland in the last round of the Six Nations. Yet, Gatland was impressed by the Saracen man’s performances in the Greene King IPA Championship.
“I watched him against Doncaster and against Nottingham,” Gatland revealed.
“You might say the opposition isn’t a good level but what I’m seeing from him is working really hard to get on ball and his ability to step and pass, never mind his left-foot kick and previous experience on a Lions tour. I think he has timed his run to form really well.”
Farrell will be one of three fly-halves that will tour South Africa with the Lions this summer, but the Englishman may slot back into the 12 shirt for the Lions, which is where he played in two of the tests against the All Blacks in 2017.