Rugby Union

British & Irish Lions coach tips Owen Farrell to flourish

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Football News

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland believes Owen Farrell will shine in Australia despite a disappointing end to his Aviva Premiership season.

The Saracens fly-half was powerless to stop Northampton Saints causing an upset in their semi-final at the Allianz Arena, meaning consecutive final four disappointments after defeat to Toulon in the Heineken Cup.

However, Gatland is in no doubt that the 21-year-old will be able to bounce back from the setbacks and shine on the highly anticipated tour Down Under.

"It has been tough for Owen but he tends to respond well to adversity and come back stronger. One of the reasons we like him is because he is mentally tough," said the head coach, according to the BBC.

"He will react well to any criticism and I am sure he will do well on the tour."

Whilst the defeats have left Sarries with time to ponder their failure, it falls well for Gatland’s preparations ahead of the trip to Hong Kong and then Australia, with Farrell now available to join up early with the majority of the touring party.

Jonny Sexton, the only other specialist No.10 in the initial 37-man squad, will miss two training camps in Wales and Ireland due to his Cup final commitments with Leinster. They take on Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup showpiece, before a domestic dust-up against Ulster the following week in a huge Pro 12 showdown.

"It is disappointing for Saracens but for us it does help our preparation. As well as the two props, it gives us an opportunity to work with Owen for the next couple of weeks," added Gatland.

The Lions' first match of the tour is against the Barbarians on June 1st. The first test match against the Wallabies is on June 22nd.

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