Owen Farrell may be England’s captain but he feels that leadership in the squad is a group effort as he goes into tonight’s World Cup semi final against South Africa.
“The strength of leadership in this group is massive – everyone leads in their own way,” said Farrell.
“To walk out at the start and take the atmosphere in is always special but once you get going, it’s about playing rugby and focusing solely on your job.”
What does Owen Farrell’s celebration mean?
Farrell has been seen celebrating his tries and kicks in a unique way.
The celebration involves linking both his index fingers together as he holds his hands out in front of him.
And the reason for his celebration stems from his close relationship with one of his biggest fans – 10-year-old Jack Johnson.
Jack is an avid sports fan but suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a debilitating muscle-wasting disorder that will leave him crippled and unable to walk.
After learning about Jack’s condition a few years ago, England star Farrell has been heavily involved in raising awareness of the charity Joining Jack.
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Farrell first found out about Jack because their fathers used to play together at Wigan Warriors.
That’s when the Saracens player decided he would dedicate every point he scored to Jack by linking his fingers together to make a ‘JJ’ sign – the initials of Joining Jack – to showcase his support.
Speaking in 2017, Farrell said: “The charity is called Joining Jack and the sign is hooking the two index fingers together to create two Js – it’s called the Joining Jack salute. It’s something a lot of the rugby league boys have caught on to.
“Andy Johnson (Jack’s father) played for a few rugby league clubs and has got a lot of friends in the league community. The sign has caught on massively.”
The Johnson family have previously expressed their gratitude for Farrell’s support over the years.
The Johnson family said: “Everyone at Joining Jack is so grateful for Owen’s support, he is a fantastic ambassador for the charity and never forgets to help raise awareness whenever he can.”
Farrell’s efforts have helped inspire other sporting stars such as rugby’s Ben Burgess and cycling legend Bradley Wiggins to also raise awareness.
To help or find out more information please visit JoiningJack.org.
In October 2019, Farrell’s club Saracens announced a new two-year partnership with Duchenne UK that aims to raise awareness and funds to support research into finding a cure for DMD.
Farrell said of the announcement: “I’ve been a proud supporter of Joining Jack for a number of years now and it is a cause close to my heart.
“The courage of Jack, Eli and all of the boys with DMD is very inspiring and I’m really happy to see that Saracens are joining forces with Duchenne UK to help tackle this devastating disease.”
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