Birth certificate secret of Owen Farrell, the star carrying England's hopes in today's rugby showdown
- Fly-half Owen is the son of England coach Andy Farrell and wife Colleen
- He was was born Owen O'Loughlin when his parents were only 16
- Rugby legacy Owen plays against Wales in Six Nations in Cardiff tomorrow
By Ryan Kisiel
PUBLISHED: 19:02 EST, 15 March 2013 | UPDATED: 04:40 EST, 16 March 2013
He is the young rugby star who today hopes to kick England to victory against Wales.
As fly-half, Owen Farrell will play a pivotal role in the title-deciding Six Nations match in Cardiff.
On the touchline will be his proud father, Andy Farrell, one of the England coaches.
Legacy: England rugby player Owen Farrell has the game in his blood as the son of former league and union player Andy Farrell, now one of the English team coaches
But what the millions watching don’t know is that the 21-year-old is the product of a teenage romance – and for the first five years of his life he was named Owen O’Loughlin.
His mother, Colleen O’Loughlin, gave birth to him just weeks before her 17th birthday.
Colleen had met Andy through family friends and they started dating when they were just 14. The teenage sweethearts used to regularly babysit together.
Within two years, the pair had left school in Wigan and were young parents – coping with the newborn Owen, who arrived in September 1991.
There was no celebratory message printed in the births section of the local newspaper, merely the list of all new mothers from the local hospital showing Owen weighed a healthy 8lb 9oz.
Rugby dynasty: Owen with his parents Andy and Colleen when his father picked up his OBE in 2005
State of origin: Owen Farrell's 1991 birth certificate
Exceptional: Owen, pictured at Millennium stadium yesterday, became - albeit briefly - the youngest player to play in the English Premiership in 2008
However, he was not at first
registered as a Farrell, but took Colleen’s family name of O’Loughlin.
Andy was named on the birth certificate as his father, giving his occupation as ‘apprentice joiner’.
Both just 16, the pair gave their parents’ addresses for the certificate.
The couple married in 1995, changing Owen’s surname to Farrell the following year.
By then, Andy Farrell was a rugby league star for Wigan who had become the youngest winner of the Challenge Cup, the sport’s version of the FA Cup, at 17.
He was to become one of the sport’s most decorated players before switching codes to rugby union.
little brother, Sean, who the teenage sweethearts used to babysit, went
on to become captain of Wigan and a Great Britain player.
On Owen’s re-registered birth certificate, Andy changed his occupation to ‘professional rugby league player’ and Colleen Farrell said she was a ‘fitness instructor’.
Within a few years it was clear that Owen had inherited his father’s skills. Andy Farrell has told how his son was drop-kicking a ball before he was two.
Owen said in an interview: ‘I was always watching dad lift trophies.
'That made me want to do what he does. I’ve always been there when he’s been training.
'He used to stay around to practise kicking and I used to kick the balls back to him.
'I’ve always had a rugby ball in my hand, so it was inevitable I was going to play.’
The family moved to a £1million home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, when Andy signed for Saracens in 2005.
At first, Owen was not happy playing a different type of rugby.
Andy, now 38, said: ‘He was kicking and screaming when we came down here.
'He didn’t want to leave Wigan because he was playing league. But that lasted about two weeks.
‘We planned for him to go back up north on the train every weekend, to carry on playing league.
He did that once or twice but then I took him to training at Saracens and he soon forgot what he was missing out on.’
Owen’s career progressed at the same rate as his father’s – temporarily being the youngest player to play in the English Premiership in 2008.
Owen’s grandfather, Peter Farrell, said: ‘I find it hard to say because he’s my grandson, but I think Owen’s about the most exceptional player I’ve ever come across.’
Up for grabs: Tom Croft breaks with the ball during the England captain's run at the Millennium Stadium yesterday as the team head for both slam and Six Nation's title today
Big day: Owen Farrell and the England rugby team will face Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff at 5pm on Saturday
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