May 25, 2018 / 6:58 AM / in 5 months

England skipper Farrell relishing added responsibility

(Reuters) - England skipper Owen Farrell is relishing the opportunity to lead the team on next month’s three-test series in South Africa, the flyhalf acutely aware that the role is loaded with added responsibility.

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - England vs Ireland - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - March 17, 2018 England’s Owen Farrell applauds the fans at the end of the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers

The 26-year-old Farrell, who has 58 caps for England, has been promoted to replace Dylan Hartley as skipper while the hooker takes an extended break from the game to recover from concussion symptoms.

“It (captaincy) puts a bit more pressure on you to play well but I see that as a good thing,” Farrell told BBC Radio 5 live.

“The first thing with that responsibility is standing up and talking in front of the team, telling other people what to do. The more you end up speaking the more you’ve got to do it and the more you’ve got to front up.

“I’ve always been comfortable speaking, especially on the field. Probably not as much off the field.”

Farrell believes he has the leadership qualities to step into Hartley’s shoes as Eddie Jones’ side looks to snap a run of poor recent performances.

England were beaten by Scotland, France and Ireland in consecutive fixtures to finish a disappointing fifth in the Six Nations tournament earlier this year.

“I’m not trying to be anyone else. You can either let the pressure get to you or let it help make you better. I see it as something to get excited about rather than try and worry about,” Farrell added.

Prior to the South Africa tour, which begins with the first test on June 9, Farrell will look to help his club Saracens beat defending champions Exeter in the Premiership final at Twickenham on Saturday.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien

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