Farrell will stand in for Dylan Hartley, who has been stood down with concussion for the three-Test series against the Springboks, with Eddie Jones concerned about division in the ranks.
The Australian has long been wary of the divisive nature of the rewards available as part of the highest-paid side in world rugby, and he saw cracks open as the side’s results unravelled in a disastrous championship.
“In English rugby in particular the key for the captain is to get unity because it is a sporting environment here that is based around selfishness. It is about individual gain. Dylan has been absolutely outstanding at getting the team to work together,” said Jones.
“It is definitely a key issue. Just look at the commercial opportunities here compared to other countries. It is something we are continually battling.
“We have been on top of it. Maybe we are not on top of it now. We just have to keep driving it. It is a constant issue for us as a team. We got complacent about unity without a doubt and that’s my responsibility.
“Whenever you’re going well everyone’s together at the front of the bus, everyone’s got their shirt off, everyone’s singing the song. When you lose there are always one or two who get up the back and say, ‘Well, it’s not my fault as I’ve done my job and the other blokes need to do it better’.
“It will take Owen time. No young captain starts out well. But Owen has been part of the group that has been leading the team, he is a strong guy, he is respected by the players and he is going to be selected in the team.”
The addition of Danny Cipriani – a Marmite figure in any environment – and the Kiwi import Brad Shields, who will meet his new team-mates for the first time out in South Africa, is unlikely to make Farrell’s glue operation any easier.
New Zealand have reluctantly agreed to release the Hurricanes captain, who Jones sees as a No6 rival to Chris Robshaw, from his Super Rugby commitments for the tour but with a snide rejoinder which might well be echoed in Exeter where Don Armand and Dave Ewers have been overlooked.
“Brad hasn’t yet played any rugby in the English jurisdiction. It seems highly unusual they can’t find players within their own country to pick,” said New Zealand’s head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum.
The England coach was unapologetic at Twickenham yesterday. “New Zealand are quite entitled to say what they want to say. My job is to pick England-qualified players. I’ll keep doing the job I’m paid to do,” said Jones, who has also shopped overseas for his tour attack coach in appointing fellow Aussie Scott Wisemantle.
Shields, who qualifies via his English-born parents and will join Wasps next season, is one of eight uncapped players in a 34-man squad including Sedbergh School centre Cam Redpath, 18, whose shock call-up was exclusively revealed by the Express yesterday.
“He’s one of these boys who you can put into any situation and he’ll adapt to it. He doesn’t get overawed. We pulled him out of his school team to train with us here in front of a crowd deliberately to see whether he could handle it and he just got on with his job,” said Jones. “He could be an Owen-type player for us.”
Source : EXPRESS