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Owen Farrell: Racing 92 announce signing of England and Saracens fly-half

Racing 92 have announced the signing of England and Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell at the end of the season.

Owen Farrell: Racing 92 announce signing of England and Saracens fly-half
Owen Farrell: Racing 92 announce signing of England and Saracens fly-half

The French Top 14 side said Farrell has signed a two-year deal starting on 1 July.

The 32-year-old Saracens captain has spent his whole career at the StoneX Stadium having made his debut aged 17.

In November he announced he was taking a break from international rugby to “prioritise his mental wellbeing” and stepped down as England captain.

Saracens team-mate Jamie George, 33, will lead England in the forthcoming Six Nations.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) does not allow players based abroad to be selected for England.

Capped 112 times by his country, Farrell’s move to France all-but prevents him playing for England again unless the eligibility rules are relaxed, something which head coach Steve Borthwick wants to happen.

Farrell has won three Six Nations titles with England, including a Grand Slam in 2016, and was part of the team who lost to South Africa in the 2019 World Cup final.

He will link up at Racing 92 with former England head coach Stuart Lancaster, who gave him his international debut against Scotland in the 2012 Six Nations.

Farrell has made more than 200 appearances for Saracens in all competitions, winning six Premiership titles and three European Rugby Champions Cups.

He made his first-team debut for the north London club in 2008 and became English professional rugby’s then youngest ever player.

The number 10 also stayed with the team through the 2020-21 season when the club was relegated to the Championship because of salary cap breaches and made captain of the side in 2021.

Last May he kicked 13 points as he led Saracens to his sixth Premiership title at Twickenham.

In 2016, Farrell also kicked all 21 points as Saracens won their first European title against Racing 92, and was part of the sides that lifted the trophy in 2017 and 2019 too.

This season, Farrell has played nine times for Sarries in all competitions after leading England to the semi-final of the 2023 World Cup in France, where they suffered a heartbreaking 16-15 loss against South Africa.

Farrell has been part of the last three British & Irish Lions tours. His father, Ireland coach Andy Farrell, has been appointed Lions coach for the 2025 tour of Australia.

‘End of an era for English rugby’ – analysis

Chris Jones, BBC rugby union correspondent

Saracens have yet to confirm the move – it is understood there is still an unresolved issue regarding the transfer fee, but sorting this should be a formality.

A two-year deal will mean Farrell will be turning 35 when next available for England, and while it is certainly not impossible he will return to the international fold, it may be unlikely.

However, the Lions tour of 2025 – for which he will be eligible – is an intriguing prospect.

Moving to France will offer him new experiences both on and off the field as a player, which should also serve him well for his inevitable move into coaching upon retirement.

But given his remarkable service to both club and country over the past decade and more, Farrell’s departure well and truly represents the end of an era for English rugby.

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