“I Know, It’s Weird, Isn’t It?” – Andy Farrell On Facing His Son Owen As Ireland Head Coach
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Ireland boss Andy Farrell has opened up about facing his son Owen as Ireland head coach for the first time when they meet in Twickenham next weekend.
The pair have come up against each other on a number of occasions in the past but it’s going to be a little different next Sunday when Andy arrives as head coach with his son Owen set to lead England out as captain.
Farrell understands the ‘weirdness’ of the situation but for the Ireland boss, it will be a strictly professional affair when the two sides meet in the Six Nations.
“I know, it’s weird, isn’t it?” Farrell said
“Well, honestly, yeah, it is weird because I know it’s weird for you guys but it’s certainly not weird for us because it’s never been any different. It’s as professional as it gets because that’s all we’ve ever known with Owen being a professional and me being a professional coach. It’s never been any different.”
But for his family, things will be a little different. His wife Colleen and Owen’s sisters will understandably be torn come kick-off.
“The hardest part is certainly for Colleen. Yeah, 100 per cent. And Owen’s sisters, and the young fella Gabriel, it’s weird for them,” Farrell said.
“They’ve got unbelievably mixed emotions, I’ve no doubt because they’re only human, but I suppose how do they try and come to terms with it? I suppose they think that they hope that, both sides do well.
“And that’s not going to happen, is it? So it’s a difficult one for them.”
Farrell said he will likely chat to his son between now and the game – but one topic will, of course, be off the table.
“Probably, yeah. What about, I don’t know. It certainly won’t be about our tactics, and it certainly won’t be about his!”
And while it’s easy for Farrell to switch into professional mode when he’s in the coaches box, he added that when he attended England vs New Zealand in the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup last year, it was a completely different story.
“Now that was tough, now I was back to being a parent again and that is tougher than being a coach against your son that is playing on the opposition,” Farrell added.
“I actually did the whole fan-family thing that day on purpose, to get back to how it felt before all this even happened.”I went on the train with the all the fans, enjoyed the atmosphere before the game, understood what it meant for my wife and the kids and that was tough because the nerves were through the roof as far as that’s concerned.
“But this is totally different. Totally different to that.
“You want your son to perform, don’t you? You speak to any parent who is watching their son play for Ireland at the weekend, your fingers are crossed, hoping it goes well.
“When you’re a coach, you don’t feel like that. You don’t hope it goes well, you’re assessing things and you’re seeing how the plan is coming together or not. So you’re busy in your mind as a coach, you’ve got a distraction.
“But when you’re a parent, and I’m sure all parents would tell you the same, you’re just watching your son. You’re not watching the game as much as you would do as a coach.”