Racing 92 have confirmed the signing of Owen Farrell on a two-year contract after the former England captain stepped away from international rugby.
England international Farrell, who is currently taking a break from Test rugby for mental health reasons, had been in talks with the six-time French champions over a move to the Top 14 when his current contract with Saracens expires at the end of the 2023/24 Gallagher Premiership season.
In a statement posted on the club’s website last month, Racing confirmed Farrell will be joining them from July 1 on a two-year deal.
The 32-year-old has won 112 caps for England and served as captain during the 2018 summer Test series in South Africa before being officially appointed as Dylan Hartley’s successor for the following year’s Six Nations.
He opted to step away from the international game in the wake of England’s third-place finish at last year’s Rugby World Cup, and his decision to move to France means Farrell will be ineligible to play for the national team due to RFU regulations which, at present, do not permit head coach Steve Borthwick to select players based abroad.
On Steve Borthwick:
Farrell said: “Steve is someone I’ve known a long time. He’s a great coach and I think things will just go from strength to strength with him in charge.”
On Eddie Jones:
Farrell said: “Eddie had been a big part of England rugby for a long time and he has been one of the best coaches I have ever had so, for that, I’m massively thankful,”
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Retiring Wayne Barnes ranks the worst rugby players to referee
#5. Joe Marler (England)
Barnes said: “Marler is one of my favourite players to have refereed. He made me smile before, during and after a match.
“He once got hold of my number in the lead up to a Quins match that I was refereeing and he sent me a WhatsApp message during the week explaining, in Joe’s unique way, how delighted he was that I would be refereeing. There was a shared smile in the changing room when I started my front-row chat an hour before the game.
“However, I wouldn’t speak to him during the match as I had learnt from previous occasions refereeing him that getting into a conversation would often distract me.
“I’d therefore tell him that he wasn’t allowed to speak to me and designate an assistant referee he was allowed to speak with. ‘You can’t speak with me tonight, Joe, but you can speak with Dixy’. Paul Dix not only worked with me as an assistant referee throughout my Premiership career, but he could talk the hind legs of a donkey too.”
Joe Marler facts:
- Marler started his career at Haywards Heath RFC in Sussex where he played in the same side as fellow England international Billy Twelvetrees
- After joining the Quins academy in 2008, the prop spent some time on loan to Esher and Worthing
- He’s been nicknamed Croissant. In his own words, it’s because: “The boys think I have a nose that looks like a French pastry.”
- Marler was captain for England at U18s level and represented the U20 squad throughout the Junior World Championship in summer 2009
- He is also one of the hosts of The Joe Marler Show podcast with Tom Fordyce