OWEN FARRELL’S club boss Mark McCall insists the fly-half’s self-imposed international exile should have alarm bells ringing in rugby.
GettySaracens boss Mark McCall said Owen Farrell’s break should have alarm bells ringing in rugby[/caption]
APFarrell announced on Wednesday he is taking time away from the international game[/caption]
McCall also reckons the 112-cap Farrell who is England’s leading points scorer, and has won six Premiership titles plus three European Cups with Sarries does not get the credit he deserves.
He confirmed Farrell will continue playing for Saracens but urged rugby to take a look at itself after referee Wayne Barnes retired after social media pile-ons and threats.
McCall said: “There’s only so much that someone can take. It is shameful.
“This is probably a wake-up call for all concerned because there’s no way that a referee should face what Wayne faced and there’s no way that a player.
“A person – like Owenshould have to face what he faced, over a longer period of time.
“He’s a brilliant, caring, supportive team-mate and a loyal friend to many. And a very good, decent human being. That’s the person I know.
“I have worked with him every day for 15 years. He has been portrayed in a way that doesn’t fit the person that people close to him know. We’ve ended up where we’ve ended up.
“He has nothing to prove. He’s got 100 caps, is captain and it is not enough for some people.
“I don’t know what he’s done – honestly – to deserve how he has been treated.”
Farrell, 32, has been a target for keyboard warriors for years and they aimed fire again when he was sent off in a pre-World Cup game against Wales for a high shot.
He even got jeered by fans ahead of England’s game against Fiji and McCall reckons no other national skipper has faced that level of abuse.
He added: “Down the years he has been made to feel that he has done something much worse than he has done.
“Every single thing that has been picked up on and scrutinised that doesn’t happen with other players.
“You might say ‘he’s the England captain’ but I’m not sure that England captains have faced the level of scrutiny that he has.
“It’s remarkable that he played the way he played during the World Cup, if we take into account how he was feeling.
“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.”
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, a former England captain, also chipped in about Farrell.
He said: “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.”