Owen Farrell I adore modules, because they are glamorous!!
When Owen Farrell was 10, he was summoned to the headmaster’s office at Sacred Heart Primary School in Wigan. Even then, his teachers observed two unique traits.
First, his supreme ability with a rugby ball. He was streets ahead of his peers. The school playing fields, which overlook a town skyline dominated by the Heinz factory, were just around the corner from Farrell’s grandparents’ house, so he would often sneak out with a ball. Hours of practice meant he could fizz passes off both hands before he was able to tie his own shoelaces.
Secondly, his fizzing temper. He set the standards and struggled to accept that other kids did not have the same drive. The deputy head, Dave Mallin, faced a dilemma: what to do with a kid like Owen?
Owen Farrell, pictured here as a boy, once had a fizzing temper and hot-headed frustration
Next week he will be with England for their first game in the hunt to win the rugby World Cup
‘He was only five or six and he’d wander over to watch the older lads’ games and say “Can I take the cone (kicking tee) on, please”?’ said Mallin. ‘He was desperate to play but, even though he was big for his age, he’d only just come out of nursery.
‘By the time he was in year five, he could fire out these long passes to the wingmen and they would drop them because they weren’t used to it. I remember one time when Owen threw this incredible long pass that went straight into touch. Owen went beserk.
‘I collared him afterwards and he said “Well, I work very, very hard. Why don’t such and such work very hard as well? Why aren’t they concentrating?”
‘He couldn’t understand. Here was a 10-year-old kid with the rugby brain of someone much, much older. If things were tight it was “Give it to me”. He’d make the yards and lead by example. He was captain but, in some ways, he wasn’t a good leader because he got so frustrated when people made mistakes. You didn’t want to tell him to rein it in but, equally, he had to iron out those frustrations.’
Farrell received a fast-track education in rugby league. His parents were only 16 when he was born. His father Andy was a key man for Wigan Warriors and became Great Britain captain. There was always a group of professional rugby players taking Farrell under their wing. It gave him opportunities that most kids could only dream of.
‘I was lucky to grow up at a time when Wigan were very dominant,’ says Farrell. ‘I’d constantly go along to watch. Whether I knew it or not, I’d have been taking things in. I’d have been fetching me dad’s kicks. All that stuff. I just thought that was the norm.’
Farrell grew up in a semi-detached house in the working-class part of town of Wigan
Farrell grew up in a semi-detached house in the working-class part of town. Rugby league was religion. All of Farrell’s idols came from the 13-man code — Andrew Johns, Darren Lockyer and his father — but his mother, Colleen, banned posters in his bedro
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