Owen has no divine right to be in team




dmg media (UK)


Rugby World Cup

WE were having a good laugh with my Leicester teammate Handre Pollard after our match against Sale on Friday night. It looks like he’ll go from warming the bench in the Premiership Cup to playing for the Springboks at the World Cup. The boys were asking him if he’s got his flight booked to France, and whether he’s been practising his lineout throwing for when they call him up as an injury replacement for Malcolm Marx. We didn’t get much reaction out of him! He’s been out with injury for a while but he came through 30 minutes in the second half and has all the experience he needs to slot straight back into the South Africa set-up. Manie Libbok is a brilliant X-factor No 10 for them but they’ll need a dead-eye goalkicker come the knockout stages. I think he’ll probably go on to the bench for them because it’s bad for morale to drop players from a winning team — and the same applies to England when Owen Farrell returns from his ban. You’ve got to reward players. If England go well against Japan today you have to reward them for consistency. That’s how you get confidence and momentum. George Ford has earned it. Just because Farrell is captain doesn’t give him a divine right to be in the team. Ford’s thrived in the quarterback role. He’s comfortable being the main man and doesn’t need someone telling him what to do. Farrell’s a big personality. He wants to do things a certain way but Ford is capable of doing it on his own. Some of the best games I played in for England were when it was just Ford in the team. He has a great knack of bringing defenders on to him, pulling them out the line and putting people into gaps.