Borthwick backs Curry after racial slur controversy calling it a 'World Rugby matter'
Owen Farrell showed his true colours by producing a classy response when the England captain was asked about being booed at the Rugby World Cup. The fly-half had been subjected to jeers previously in the tournament and once again was jeered by those in France before, during and after the third-place play-off victory over Argentina.
Continuous whistles and taunts were heard at the Stade de France, beginning before the match as the bronze medal lineups were announced over the tannoy and almost every player’s name was booed. The players were in the dressing room at the time, but that did not prevent a hostile atmosphere from forming in Paris.
Farrell’s first few kicks of the game were met with boos and whistles, while his kick at goal was drowned out by the sound of ‘La Marseille’ as the French supporters in attendance defied messages of “respect the kicker” on the stadium screens.
Farrell is no stranger to antagonistic fans and had the opportunity to chastise those jeering him on Friday night, but instead he insisted that it was “no problem”. Having featured in multiple versions of the England vs France rivalry, the skipper knew what he was going to be in store for.
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When asked after the match if he was surprised at the chorus of boos, Farrell responded: “No, I am not surprised. It is usually like that here. When you play here in the Six Nations they don’t normally cheer you when you are having a shot at goal. It’s different here to England when a kicker is taking a shot. It’s just different, that’s all it is. That’s no problem.”
Some supporters may have expected Farrell to take a parting shot at his detractors on his way out of France, but the 32-year-old instead took the high road and acted in exemplary fashion as England captain.
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However, Farrell had previously been sure to call out the abuse that his team-mate Tom Curry has received on social media after reporting an alleged racial slur to the referee during their semi-final defeat to South Africa.
“What isn’t understandable is the amount of abuse he’s got,” Farrell said regarding Curry in the build-up to England’s clash with Argentina. “The effect that has on him is the bit that I, and we, really don’t understand.
“And I know it seems to be going more and more like this, but it shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t be. You are dealing with people, with human beings. Just because you’re saying stuff on your phone or behind a computer screen doesn’t make it acceptable. I don’t think it’s acceptable. This doesn’t make me look fondly at engaging with people outside of the people that are close to you.”
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