Six contenders for the England captaincy after Owen Farrell’s surprise announcement

With today’s news from Saracens that England icon Owen Farrell is taking a breather from Test rugby for the 2024 Six Nations, it leaves head coach Steve Borthwick with a captaincy conundrum as he starts to finalise his plans for the campaign.

Long-standing England captains Courtney Lawes (retired) and Tom Curry (hurt) are unable to take up Farrell’s armband, therefore Borthwick will have to search elsewhere for the player who will captain the squad in February’s match against Italy in Rome.

Prospective candidates for Planet Rugby

George Ford (Sale Sharks)

Ford is the obvious candidate having performed the role of vice captain in the matches he played during the

Global Cup. Ford is expected to replace Furbank at fly-half for the Saracens going ahead, though Marcus Smith of the Harlequins and Fin Smith of the Saints will also be vying for a spot. Farrell is also absent from England’s midfield.

Borthwick is the favorite to replace his childhood friend Farrell in every capacity if he chooses to follow the path of the Sale Shark, who leads the game plan at 10. It is highly likely that he will also add formal duties to Ford’s job.Odds: Equitable.

Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears)

Genge offers so much to England in terms of his tireless carrying and his absolute commitment to the white shirt

Despite his attire, the underlying problem still exists because he isn’t among the best three or two scrummagers that Bradford may choose from. Although he is a reliable Test prop who performs well in most circumstances, there have been instances recently where his tight work has been called into question, most notably in the World Cup semi-final when he was unable to handle the strength of the “Bomb Squad.”

Nevertheless, mastering the art of propping takes time, and at 28, he hasn’t yet reached the height of his strength as a loosehead. As long as he continues to start for England in the number one shirt, there’s no denying he’s a strong contender for the position.Probability: 2/1

Jamie George (Saracens)

Now maturing into one of the world’s foremost Test hookers, the man known to all as ‘Jinx’ is very much part of

The senior leadership group of England will play a crucial role in making decisions on the field as we go towards the next World Cup cycle.

The Sarries front-rower, however, is entering his salad days as a Test player and is unlikely to travel to Australia for the 2027 World Cup at the age of 33. If he is selected, then it will be as a caretaker, holding the armband until his Saracens captain is prepared to return to action. George would, without a doubt, give the part his all and meet the crucial requirement of being the best player available for his position.Probability: 3/1

Maro Itoje (Saracens)

The big lock is approaching something near his personal best again on the pitch after delivering world-class

performances that took place during the World Cup. He was seen as a future England captain for a while, but Eddie Jones’ tenure may have hindered him from taking on the role because of his intelligent observer nature in a group setting.

He’s still a lock for a spot on the Six Nations roster, much like George, but there’s also the argument that it might not be the best idea to overload him with distractions at a time when his playing career is at its height. Though lagging behind the front-runner Ford and his partner Jamie George, he is still an option.Probability: 3/1


Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)

Though he entered the World Cup as a late addition, the Saints scrummie solidified his position as the liaison between England’s forwards and backs. He has guided his club team to multiple titles.

Half-back is an ideal position to comprehend the intricacies of a game on the field, and Mitchell’s rugby intelligence is evident to all. Is this going too far, too soon? Maybe, and he’s also had Jack van Poortvliet and Raffi Quirke pressing him for their Test spots. Mitchell may be a work in progress when he joins the senior leadership group, but he is still available should England require him to step up to the plate once more.

Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers)

England will build their pack around the massive presence of Chessum for years to come. There’s absolutely no

There’s little doubt that he will have a lengthy career in the Test side, form permitting, and his leadership potential going ahead is also undeniable.

However, similar to Mitchell, would you like to impose leadership duties on him at this point in his development as a person? Once more, he’s one for the future, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him selected as England’s vice captain in the future, but for the time being, he’s still more of an outsider with promise than a serious contender.15/1 is the odds.


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