By Ed Elliot, PA, Dublin
England captain Owen Farrell admits his mother Colleen is stuck in an unenviable position as he attempts to deny father Andy Grand Slam glory with Ireland.
The personal circumstances of the Farrell family is a major subplot going into Saturday’s sold-out Dublin showdown, with the hosts odds-on favourites to complete a Guinness Six Nations clean sweep.
Fly-half Farrell is out to spoil the St Patrick’s weekend party at the Aviva Stadium after being recalled by Steve Borthwick, having begun last weekend’s 53-10 thrashing by France on the bench.
Steve Borthwick has named our side for #IREvENG on Saturday 🌹@O2 | #WearTheRose
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The 31-year-old insists it will be business as usual for him and his dad but concedes it is a tricky situation for relatives caught in the middle.
“It’s not weird for us two,” he said. “It’s probably a bit more weird for the family that’s supporting, especially my mum.
“She says she doesn’t know what she wants to happen. It’s probably a bit tough for her – well, I know it is.
“But in terms of us, we’re just doing our job. He’s not out there on the field, it’s not direct competition.
“We’ve been doing it for a long time now. It’s not the first time we’ve done it.”
Owen’s sons Tommy and Freddie are staying at his parents’ house in the Dublin suburb of Sandymount.
Ireland head coach Andy, who is not currently at home due to preparing his team for the mouthwatering championship finale, joked on Thursday that he would attempt to convert his grandsons into home fans and have them wearing green jerseys.
Both boys own England and Ireland shirts but Owen expects them to be sporting the former this weekend.
“They’re a bit young yet (to decide where their allegiances lie),” he said.
“They’re just doing as their grandad’s told them to, they’re staying at their grandad’s house so I guess it’s his rules this weekend so far.
“I assumed – and I do still assume – that they will be wearing England jerseys but I see they’re trying to sway them.”
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Rivalries aside, the Saracens player has been majorly impressed by what his father has achieved on the other side of the Irish Sea.
“Ireland are going really well at the minute, going for a Grand Slam which is a massive occasion for them,” he said.
“They’re flying at the minute.
“They’re not number one in the world for nothing and there’s definitely a lot of pride in our family for the job that he’s doing.”
Farrell junior believes he has ironed out the kicking issues he endured ahead of being dropped for the record-breaking humiliation at the hands of the French.
He insists England are far better than that unacceptable showing and have conducted a thorough inquest.
“Obviously we’re hurting a bit from last week,” he said.
“We’re looking to take a step forward, we’re going to play the best we can and we’re looking forward to it.
“It’s two good teams going at it. Off the back of last week, everybody – especially from the outside – is very down about where we’re at at the minute.
“We’ve no doubt we’re better than that and we’re looking forward to the game.
“That wasn’t good enough, it never is in an England shirt.
“We’ve been looking at it closely, probably closer than everybody else, and we’re looking at what we can do better and trying to get that out on the field tomorrow.”