Brian O’Driscoll Answers The Question – Johnny Sexton Or Owen Farrell?

Number 10.

There’s absolutely no doubt about it – Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell are two of the very best number 10s in the game today, possibly in history.

Both have won domestic titles, European titles, international titles, prestigious individual awards – you name it. But who would you have in your team if you could only pick one?

Former Ireland and Leinster centre Brian O’Driscoll was asked to try and separate the two based on five key areas – goal-kicking, defence, composure, vision and leadership. And he found it pretty difficult.

On goal-kicking:

“Owen Farrell is a better goal-kicker than Johnny Sexton. I don’t know about percentages but I just feel as though over the course of time Owen has knocked over more clutch kicks than Johnny. It feels that way.” O’Driscoll told BT Sport

On defence:

“It depends on how legal things are! They’re both very good tacklers. I think Owen Farrell can put in some huge shots but he can miss big too. Johnny doesn’t miss very many so it depends on what you’re looking for – a game changing hit, with the possibility of a big miss, or someone that’s super solid and happy to leave any of the biggest forwards one-on-one. That’s the option I’d go for.”

On composure:

“I dunno. Like Johnny can lose his head no doubt and that’s one part of Owen Farrell’s temperament I’ve really seen an improvement in. But he’s prone to losing the head as well. But not in the same sort of way. He lose the head by those huge shots and a wild miss. It’s close but I’d say maybe just Owen Farrell on composure.”

On vision:

“Close too but I’m gonna go with Johnny. I think Owen Farrell’s got great vision as well but I think there’s no one in world rugby that is able to see space and understand space like Johnny Sexton.” 

On leadership:

“Again both great leaders. I feel as though it’s never fair giving the captaincy to the number 10 because there are so many responsibilities for them, particularly with goal-kicking etc. I feel as though you’re gonna be a leader irrespective of whether you’ve got a captain’s armband on you or not. And I think there’s nothing in it between them because they are often the ones to ignite their team, and give them direction, and focus, and understand game plans. They’re the heartbeat of their team. So I’m gonna call that one a draw.”

So O’Driscoll has Farrell for kicking and composure, and Sexton for tackling and vision, with the pair drawing on leadership. It’s officially a tie. They cannot be split. But who will once again be a European champion come Saturday night? We’ll have to wait and see.