Rugby

England captain Owen Farrell to miss Six Nations to ‘prioritise’ well-being

Farrell made his senior England debut in 2012 (David Davies/PA)
Farrell made his senior England debut in 2012 (David Davies/PA) Farrell made his senior England debut in 2012 (David Davies/PA)

England captain Owen Farrell will not be available for this season’s Six Nations Championship after deciding to take a break from international rugby.

In a statement, Farrell’s club Saracens said his decision had been made “in order to prioritise his and his family’s mental well-being”.

Saracens added that 32-year-old Farrell would continue to play for them and captain the Gallagher Premiership club.

Saracens said: “Owen Farrell has decided to take a break from international rugby in order to prioritise his and his family’s mental well-being.

“This means he will not be available for selection for the 2024 Six Nations.

“He will continue to play for Saracens and captain the club.

“As always, Owen will have the full support of everyone at the club.”

Farrell made his England debut in 2012, going on to win 112 caps and scoring 1,237 points for his country.

He captained England at the 2019 and 2023 World Cup tournaments and has also featured on three British and Irish Lions tours.

England head coach Steve Borthwick said: “Everyone at England Rugby is fully behind Owen’s decision.

“Since making his debut, he has been an integral part of the England set-up for over a decade, and the demands on elite athletes are extremely challenging.

Rugby Union – RBS 6 Nations Championship 2012 – Scotland v England – Murrayfield
Rugby Union – RBS 6 Nations Championship 2012 – Scotland v England – Murrayfield Owen Farrell made his senior England debut in 2012 (David Davies/PA)

“He is an exemplary player, captain and leader and always gives his all for his country.

“It is with typical courage that Owen has made this decision to open up in this manner.

“Together with all of us at England Rugby, I will do everything I can to ensure that he has the support he requires going forward.”

England finished third at the World Cup, and their next game is a Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on February 3. George Ford and Marcus Smith would be the leading contenders to fill Farrell’s familiar fly-half role.