It's the family affair that keeps running but dad was keeping his counsel for fear of fanning the flames.

As defence coach for Ireland since 2016, Andy Farrell has previously been tasked with neutering the threat of son, Owen, who will captain England on Sunday, either at out-half or first centre.

But the round-three Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham will be Andy’s first time in sole charge of a team sent out to stop Owen, a dangerous attacking threat for England no matter where he is deployed by Eddie Jones.

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The Ireland boss is extremely close to his son and knows that he has the potential to win the game for England and deny the visitors a Triple Crown title.

So when Andy spoke to reporters yesterday he knew the questions about the unique match-up would come, and having somewhat opened up on the subject last week - saying the situation was tougher for Owen's mum, sisters and son - preferred to dead-bat the queries. 

Given Owen is captain of England, is it the most challenging week of your career?

"I wouldn’t say so. No. It’s another big game. I suppose we’ll play this game and the next one will be big as well. That’s what Test match football is all about."

Have you spoken to him much this week, in comparison to a week when you are not playing England?

"I think I’ve spoken to him two or three times. Sometimes it’s once a week. Sometimes it’s five times a week. Sometimes it’s ten.

"There’s nothing new there. Bit of Facetime talking to my grandson, that kind of thing."

With your head coach hat on, is Owen Farrell more dangerous at out-half or centre?

"You tell me, you tell me. I don't know. I suppose he is just happy to do whatever he is asked to do for his country.

"He has never whinged, no matter where he has played. I suppose he is just like the rest of the boys really that he would proud to wear the shirt."

Owen, of course, is not the only connection Andy has to Sunday's opponents having won eight caps as a player and served as defence coach with England between 2011 and 2015. 

Jones took over from Stuart Lancaster in 2015 and decided not to keep Farrell on but in 2018 asked the then-Ireland defence coach to come back on board.

"He asked the question and I had a good job anyway so that was that," said Farrell when asked how that conversation went.

"No more than that, no."

Eddie Jones and Andy Farrell at Saracens

Farrell’s time as a player with Saracens between 2006 and 2009 also overlapped with Jones’ stint there, firstly as an advisor and subsequently as a coach.  

"He was there as a consultant when I first joined," added the 44-year-old former dual code England international.

"We knew that he was coming to take over as head coach there a year later.

"He re-signed me actually which I was grateful for. It was great to spend some time with him.

"He's certainly a very wise coach, he's been through a hell of a lot. He's had some awesome experiences and I've always enjoyed going for a coffee with Eddie and talking through those experiences.

"He loves talking about rugby and so do I and I like to try and tap into those experiences he's been through.

"My honest opinion on [not being kept on after the 2015 World Cup], I don't think it was my job anyway, I don't.

"I worked for Stuart, and Stuart had left and I would have done exactly the same if I was Eddie."

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