Owen Farrell: England captain announces break from international rugby to prioritise 'mental wellbeing'
England captain Owen Farrell has decided to take a break from international rugby and will be absent from this season’s Six Nations Championship. 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”.
However, the 32-year-old Farrell would continue to play for them and captain the Gallagher Premiership club, Saracens added. The club 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 marked his first appearance for England in 2012 and went on to earn 112 caps, contributing 1,237 points to his national team. He served as the captain for England in both the 2019 and 2023 World Cup competitions and participated in three tours with the British and Irish Lions.
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.
“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.”
The World Cup concluded with England securing the third position, and their upcoming match is the Six Nations opener against Italy in Rome on February 3. George Ford and Marcus Smith are the top candidates to take on the well-known fly-half position previously held by Farrell.