Jason Robinson praises Owen Farrell ahead of South Africa clash

Rugby Union
Owen Farrell of Saracens kicks a penalty
Owen Farrell of Saracens kicks a penalty

Jason Robinson views England captain Owen Farrell as a player carved in the image of his father whose resolve will be essential in the upcoming series against South Africa.

Robinson played alongside Andy Farrell for the Wigan and Great Britain rugby league teams before launching his own successful career in union that reached its pinnacle with a World Cup winner's medal.

He has watched Owen's development closely and approves of his appointment as skipper for the three Tests against the Springboks that begin at Ellis Park on Saturday before continuing in Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

"I grew up with his father and played with his father. Owen was always around, throwing balls about even as a tot," Robinson told Press Association Sport, speaking on behalf of Land Rover.

"Owen comes from good stock - look at his dad's success and his uncle (Sean O'Loughlin) is captain of Wigan. He's always been in and around rugby.

"I spent so much time with his dad and you see the same characteristics there. They have the same mannerisms and the same mindset.

"Both are leaders, they both have kicking and attacking qualities. They are fearless in defence.

"Owen is a big lad who loves to get stuck in and loves the contact. He never backs off from a challenge.

"He's doing exceptionally well, but every time I watch Owen it reminds me so much of his dad. He's worked very hard.

"He'll want to put his stamp on the role of England captain. He wants to take responsibility, like that player in football who wants to take the penalty.

"Against South Africa they will need his character because the Boks will come after England and will try to physically get stuck into them and try to upset them.

"But this is his office and where he thrives and where he gets his kicks."

Farrell is the heartbeat of Eddie Jones' England and also their fiercest competitor, seeking out confrontation and occasionally treading a fine disciplinary line.

During the NatWest 6 Nations he engaged in a tunnel scuffle with Scotland's Ryan Wilson before the Calcutta Cup showdown at Murrayfield when coming to the aid of George Ford and Robinson understands the value of his glowering presence.

"It's part of his character and part of his make-up. If he didn't have that, would he be as aggressive in defence? Would he be as good a leader?" Robinson said.

"Every player has to have something about them. It's like when you go to somebody's house and you have that dog in the corner looking at you and you're thinking 'are you going to bite me? I'm not quite sure'.

"People will target him because he's a 10 and playmaker. But because he's got that about him, people know he won't be intimidated or take a backward step.

"That's him, that's his character and if you try to take away a certain part of a player's character then you spoil the whole package.

"Being captain makes you think slightly differently, there's more responsibility so he'll think about things slightly differently."

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