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Owen Farrell to miss 2024 Six Nations due to mental health

Owen Farrell to miss 2024 Six Nations due to mental health
© Reuters
England captain Owen Farrell decides to take a break from international rugby to prioritise his mental health, meaning that he will miss the 2024 Six Nations .

England captain Owen Farrell has opted to take a break from international duty and will miss the 2024 Six Nations to "prioritise his and his family's mental well-being".

The Saracens fly-half became his nation's all-time leading points scorer in test matches during the 2023 World Cup, moving onto 1,237 to leave Jonny Wilkinson (1,179) in his wake.

After missing England's opening two matches of the tournament through suspension, Farrell returned to the fold and led Steve Borthwick's side to the semi-finals, where they lost to eventual champions South Africa by a single point before beating Argentina in the third-placed playoff.

The 32-year-old was due to represent England in next year's Six Nations, which takes place from February 2 to March 16, but Saracens have now announced that Farrell will not turn out for his country as he focuses on his mental health.

However, Saracens confirmed that Farrell will still continue to play for his club amid his England sabbatical, saying in a statement: "Owen Farrell has decided to take a break from international rugby in order to prioritise his and his family's mental wellbeing.

"This means he will not be available for selection for the 2024 Six Nations. He will continue to play for Saracens and captain the club. As always, Owen will have the full support of everyone at the club."

England's Owen Farrell prepares to kick penalty on October 7, 2023© Reuters

England head coach Borthwick also offered his support to Farrell, hailing the fly-half's "courage" to step down from international duty and noting the "extremely challenging" demands placed on professional athletes.

"Everyone at England Rugby is fully behind Owen's decision," Borthwick told englandrugby.com. "Since making his debut, he has been an integral part of the England set up for over a decade and the demands on elite athletes are extremely challenging.

"He is an exemplary player, captain and leader and always gives his all for his country. It is with typical courage that Owen has made this decision to open up in this manner.

"Together with all of us at England Rugby, I will do everything I can to ensure that he has the support he requires going forward."

Alongside his record 1,237 points for England, Farrell has also amassed 34 test points for the British and Irish Lions for a total of 1,271, putting him second in the all-time charts behind legendary New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter (1,598).

England begin their 2024 Six Nations campaign away to Italy on February 3, before meeting Wales at Twickenham seven days later, and a trip to Scotland lies in wait on February 24.

Borthwick's men then host Ireland in their penultimate match on March 9 before closing out the campaign against France at Lyon's Groupama Stadium on March 16.

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England's Owen Farrell prepares to kick penalty on October 7, 2023
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