Rugby: England skipper Owen Farrell jokes he 'books in' for chats with Ireland coach, his father Andy

England's centre Owen Farrell attends a training session at The Lensbury hotel in south-west London on Nov 11, 2020.
England's centre Owen Farrell attends a training session at The Lensbury hotel in south-west London on Nov 11, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - England rugby captain Owen Farrell has joked that he has to pre-arrange video chats if he wanted to speak with father Andy, now that he is the head coach of Ireland.

The two Farrells will be on opposite sides in the Autumn Nations Cup at Twickenham on Saturday (Nov 21), with Ireland looking to gain revenge for their 24-12 defeat by the eventual Six Nations champions in February.

"I have to book in with him now! I haven't seen him for a long time, but we obviously still speak as anyone would do, normally," England fly-half Farrell said of talking to his father.

Andy Farrell, a dual code international, was promoted from his post as Ireland defence coach to take charge after Joe Schmidt stood down following last year's World Cup in Japan, where the team reached the quarter-finals.

"It is a step up but it is something he has always wanted and it's good he has got this opportunity now," Owen Farrell said.

"He has put his own stamp on it a bit, with a lot that's been learnt while being involved with Ireland before he took over. I guess he's hoping it is a progression."

Meanwhile, England coach Eddie Jones tried to get under the skin of Ireland by suggesting experienced French referee Pascal Gauzere pay attention to their scrum during Saturday's game.

Jones, never shy of making a pointed remark ahead of a match, in particular questioned the technique of Ireland prop Andrew Porter.

The Leinster front row, deputising for the injured Tadhg Furlong, helped Ireland dominate Wales at the set piece in their tournament-opening 32-9 win last week.

"Porter's done really well, he's taken to Test rugby well," said Jones, before adding: "Scrums in a fairly unusual way which may need some referee intervention there, so we'll wait and see."

Asked to explain what was so "unusual" about Porter's play, veteran Australian coach Jones said: "I'll leave that up to the referee.

"The scrum contest is always challenging against Ireland. We've got a referee (Gauzere) who generally doesn't reward dominant scrums so it'll be interesting to see how he looks at that area.

Some have dubbed Ireland the "Irish Barbarians" as five of the starting XV - Bundee Aki, James Lowe, Jamison Gibson-Park, C.J. Stander and Quinn Roux - are either from New Zealand or South Africa but qualified on residency grounds.

"I heard someone calling them the United Nations, so I had a little chuckle," said Jones.

"Andy Farrell, Mike Catt and Simon Easterby are just selecting the team they are allowed under the regulations."