Owen Farrell is “years ahead” of Jonny Wilkinson at the same age, England’s greatest fly-half revealed last night.
“Owen is years ahead of where I was at that time,” said Wilkinson. “He gets excited about the unknown. I couldn’t stand it.
“Had someone said to me ‘you can have everything you want, sign here, but you don’t get to play any more’, I would have signed it and given up all that passion and enjoyment.
“Owen would look at that contract, screw it up and call it a disgrace. He wants to go out there and see what he is capable of.”
“I was so tense before games,” he recalls. “When we were at Toulon Sonny Bill Williams would be like, ’what are you doing?!’ I’d say, ‘getting ready’. He was spontaneous and just ready. No ‘what ifs’. Owen is like that.
“I will deliberately frustrate Owen and get him in a mess,” added Jonny. “Because when you get what you expect you get comfortable and that slows down growth.
“So I’ll constantly challenge his expectation; keep moving him around, not allow him to find a rhythm, give him ugly situations that don’t have a perfect outcome.
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“’Hit three from here’,” I’ll tell him. “He’ll put the first two over then start setting up the third and I’ll interrupt. ‘Hold on a second,’ I’ll say and give him a question just because his body wants that rhythm.
“His mind is going: ‘Shit, that’s not the way it should be.’ But I’ll keep doing it to get him more frustrated and force him to dig deeper.
“When you are excited about the unknown and the unexpected you will go somewhere. He is certainly in that place.”