Owen Farrell is sitting with his dad debating which of them is the most competitive.

“He says he never lets me win, but I always win anyway,” says the fly-half, breaking into a laugh.

“He never wins anything. I’d never let him win,” counters Farrell snr, rugby league legend turned top union coach.

“Even playing tiddlywinks tomorrow I would never let him win. But he’s getting to that stage now where I have to be on my toes.”

Owen shakes his head. “It was that stage about five years ago!”

Given their respective achievements the back-and-forth ribbing is to be expected. Yet this was nine years ago. Farrell jnr was 17, just starting out.

Owen Farrell will captain England at the World Cup
 

As an insight into the player he would become it was revealing. You could not watch the World Rugby interview and conclude anything other than this young man was going places.

Fast forward to today and the same player is in Japan preparing to captain England in a World Cup.

He has 73 caps and 817 points to his name. He is a husband and a father and has toured twice with the Lions without losing a series.

Yet as with that day in 2008 you get the sense listening to him that his best years are still to come.

“For me it’s always about what’s next,” says Farrell. “If you win something, a tournament, a championship or whatever, it’s done. The exciting bit, the part that engages me, is where it takes you. What’s next.

Farrell takes inspiration from those who have been at the top for a long time
 

“That’s why the sports people that inspire me are those that have been at the top for a long time. Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, Andrew Johns, Cam Smith…

“At times they’ve had to adapt to stay ahead of the game. Something’s happened injury wise or they get older and have to drop into a different position.

"They constantly find new ways to have big influences on their game, their team and those around them.”

So Farrell is driven, we get that. When Georgie, his wife, went into hospital to give birth and the labour lasted longer than anticipated, he thought about nipping out to play in Saracens’ European quarter-final against Glasgow.

“It actually looked like I was going to make it at first,” he recalls. “Then I rang up and said ‘not much is happening so I probably won’t… but if the baby comes and everyone’s okay and it’s still in time, I’ll be there’.

The fly-half has 73 England caps

“What?! It was a big game.”

He would never put it this way, but Farrell - in common with half of Eddie Jones’ squad - has unfinished business with the World Cup.

The 2015 tournament was a horror show for England, hosts forced to leave their own party before it had got going. Farrell, of course, was able to mine a rich vein of motivation from it.

“There’s often a bit of adversity before something good happens,” he says. “What happened there allowed us to look at ourselves and be honest and not just think what we’re doing is working.

Farrell was part of the 2015 World Cup squad

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“It allowed us to really throw all of ourselves into the next thing and I think we did that because we went on and played well for two years.”

In all England have won 34 of 44 games since Jones took charge of the rebuild.

“And the exciting thing is how much we’ve got left in us,” adds the captain.

That’s Farrell. Always pushing, never satisfied.