Home Estate Planning Ollie Phillips: Farrell move tough for Premiership but he’s made the right call

Ollie Phillips: Farrell move tough for Premiership but he’s made the right call

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I can do nothing but commend Owen Farrell’s move from Saracens to Racing 92. He owes nobody anything and can really start to relax into the twilight of his career.

I cannot say the news shocked me given the abuse so-called fans and others had heaped upon the England No10, but to see him leave the Premiership is a major blow to the league.

When I think of the north London club I think of Mr Saracens Owen Farrell. He is their talisman and such an integral part of a machine that has seen them find so much success across the rugby world.

He may be without a Rugby World Cup – and may still get one if he is included in 2027, at the age of 35, after this contract in Paris concludes – but he has won pretty much everything else the game offers an Englishman and has earned his pay cheque across the Channel.

Farrell on the move

The reported £2.5m total deal for the Englishman is a hefty one, and something few would have been able to turn their nose up at.

And to be working under the likes of Stuart Lancaster, whom he has partnered with before at England, will have been a major factor.

Picture the scene: Racing 92 back row and South Africa captain Siya Kolisi breaks off the base of a scrum and hands the ball off to Antoine Dupont stand-in Nolann Le Garrec, he passes the ball to Farrell who ships it on to Fijian giant Josua Tuisova before France defensive captain Gael Fickou gets his digits on the ball.

From there the ball goes to the likes of Vinaya Habosi, Christian Wade or Henry Arundell for the try to be scored in the corner. Sublime scenario, isn’t it? You can see why Farrell went there for the rugby, even if it means giving up on England for a bit, with a Lions tour coached by his father Andy Farrell on the horizon.

Parisian fun

But beyond oval ball, Paris is just the most brilliant city.

It is far smaller than London, population, and more private, though out of all of the French clubs Racing 92 may be one of the loudest. It is a stunning place of culture, food, language and more.

I thrived in it having learned the language, as James Haskell said on the podcast The Good, The Bad and The Rugby, and I made sure that my time at Stade Francais – Racing 92’s rival – was worth the experience.

Paris was incredible for me for my growth. It is a sport in the Top 14 hierarchy where players – such as Sergio Parisse or Finn Russell – were able to live their lives in peace and tranquillity. It’s a loud city but you can avoid the celebrity as an Englishman much easier than on this side of the Channel. Farrell does have big shoes to fill, though.

Next in Line

He follows a line of incredible fly-halves to hold the No10 shirt at his new Parisian home Racing 92.

Preceding the record England point scorer at the Parisian club was Johnny Sexton, then All Black legend Dan Carter and Scottish sensation Finn Russell.

Farrell has a huge task with the club being one without any major honours, both domestically and in Europe, but I back him to, if nothing else, enjoy the journey.

Sometimes we don’t know what we have until it is gone and I do think the Premiership will miss Farrell. Much more than some who helped to drive him out would admit.

Former England Sevens Captain Ollie Phillips is the founder of Optimist Performance, experts in leadership development behavioural change and executive coaching support. Follow Ollie on Twitter and on LinkedIn @OlliePhillips11

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