Toby Flood: 'Andy Farrell won't be afraid to snub his son for Lions tour'

Toby Flood: 'Andy Farrell won't be afraid to snub his son for Lions tour'

Former England out-half Toby Flood has said that Andy Farrell wouldn't be afraid to drop his son Owen if he did make the 2025 Lions squad.

This week, it was announced that Farrell senior would work as a head coach for the 2025 tour to Australia next year.

One of the more interesting dynamics in rugby is Owen and Andy's relationship. Owen scored 1,000 points throughout 100 tests and is one of the highest point scorers in test history for England, while his father, Andy, is Ireland's current head coach.

In the past, Andy has been asked about his relationship with his son while playing against him, knocking back the awkward questions at every turn.

The questions will emerge once again when Andy Farrell makes his 2025 Lions selection next year. This is sure to be an awkward set of circumstances once again.

However, Flood, who played over 60 times for England in Farrell's position, believes that Owen, who has played on every Lions tour since 2013, won't be an automatic pick just because he is the son of the Lions coach.

Nika Amashukeli, the referee, shows Owen Farrell, the England captain, a yellow card which was later upgraded to red after a TMO review during the Summer International match between England and Wales at Twickenham Stadium on August 12, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Speaking to, Flood said: "Picking Owen would be a difficult decision for Andy, especially given how he would spin it to the wider world. It would be a very tough conversation for him to justify the fact that ‘my son hasn’t played international rugby for 18 months, but I am still taking him.’

"The other choice would be easier. If he hasn’t played internationally, that is an obvious reason for not taking him, especially if George Ford or Marcus Smith have kicked on."

No matter what happens, Flood believes that Farrell senior has the personality to ignore the comments and speculation around selecting his boy because of nepotism.

"Andy is big enough to drop Owen. He is very aware that it would be a tough ask. However, Andy doesn’t really care about what other people think. He only cares about winning, performing, and keeping things tight-knit."

Flood also believes that Farrell's selection could be compromised because of his potential move to Racing 92 in France. The 38-year-old believes the drop-off in terms of intensity levels at club level would make a massive difference in the end.

"I think Owen’s potential move to France has to compromise his chances of being selected for the Lions. It is one thing to play club rugby, but another to do it internationally, not least in terms of speed," he added.

"The club game in England is a 40% drop-off from the international level, and in France, it is 45%. There is a big, big difference. It is so quick and physical. Taking yourself out of that firing line makes it very difficult."