Former England Skipper Speaks Out on Owen Farrell's Bold Move to End International Career

In an exclusive interview with SportsBoom, former England skipper Nick Easter sheds light on Owen Farrell's ground-breaking decision to effectively conclude his international career by signing a two-year deal with Racing 92 in France. The interview provides insights into the evolving landscape of top-level sports and concludes with Easter's reflections on the balance between personal aspirations and moral considerations in a professional athlete's career.

Louis Hobbs
Louis Hobbs

Last Updated: 2024-01-31

Wade McElwain

5 minutes read

Owen Farrell Set for France

In a surprising turn of events, England's record points scorer and talisman, Owen Farrell, has made a bold decision that effectively marks the end of his international career. Farrell recently inked a two-year deal with top French team Racing 92, leading to his ineligibility for England's upcoming Six Nations opener against Italy and any subsequent selection until potentially mid-2026.


The 32-year-old captain of Saracens has been a stalwart of the StoneX Stadium throughout his entire career, a remarkable journey that commenced when he made his debut at the age of 17. Undoubtedly, this would have made the decision even more challenging as he decided to leave behind a club that has been his home since 2008. 

Nick Easter’s Insights: A Different Perspective on Life and Rugby

Former England skipper Nick Easter, a rugby legend in his own right, weighed in on Farrell's decision in an exclusive interview with SportsBoom. Easter, who guided England to Six Nations success in 2011, believes that Farrell's move to France is a significant step in his career and life.


“I think it’s a great move for him [Owen] at this stage in his career,” Easter remarked. “It will give him a completely different perspective on life and on rugby."



The Driving Force Behind Farrell’s Decision

Easter highlighted the opportunity for Farrell to focus on a single team and reunite with coach Stuart Lancaster, who gave him his England debut in 2012. The move to France not only promises a change of scenery but also a chance to work under familiar and esteemed leadership.


However, Easter acknowledged the financial implications that played a pivotal role in Farrell's decision. French clubs are known for offering substantial salaries, creating a significant gap compared to the financial landscape in the English Premiership.


“If you’re an England international, you got paid handsomely per game, and that, along with a few endorsements and a few kickbacks outside of rugby, can make up that shortfall you might get for your club," Easter explained. "But now I think that divide is so great – and the uncertainty of playing for England because of the way the players have been treated in the past.”

From Eddie Jones to the Present Regime

Easter pointed out the shift in player treatment during the Eddie Jones era, where favourites seemed to be untouchable, creating uncertainty among players about their place in the national squad. While acknowledging the changes in the current regime, Easter believes that the allure of France is still strong for players seeking financial security.


“It’s sad for the RFU because playing for England should be the pinnacle," Easter expressed. "However, these guys have a very short career, and they’ve got to do what’s best for them and their families.”

Financial Rewards in Top-Level Sport

Easter, with 54 caps for his country and extensive coaching experience since his retirement in 2016, emphasised the impact of financial rewards on top-level sports decisions.


“You see it all around the world in top-level sport," Easter said. "Rugby is not on that sort of scale, but they [the players] have that right."


He also touched upon the additional benefits in France, such as unemployment benefits post-retirement, which can aid players during the transition out of professional rugby.


“Whatever your stance morally or ethically on that, you’ve got to do what’s right for you and your family’s futures,” Easter concluded.


As Farrell embarks on this new chapter in his career, the rugby world watches with anticipation, recognising the complex factors that influence players' decisions in the ever-evolving landscape of professional sports.

Louis Hobbs
Louis HobbsLead Journalist

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.