Thursday 22 February 2018

Farrell vows to keep his head against Wales

Alex Lowe

OWEN Farrell vowed to keep his head in the Millennium Stadium maelstrom after being recalled to the England side for Saturday's Grand Slam showdown with Wales.

The ferociously competitive Saracens fly-half was involved in a series of altercations during England's 23-13 victory over France and was criticised for losing his focus.


At times, Farrell appeared to be looking for trouble. He was involved in two incidents with France full-back Yoann Huget and he escaped a citing for an apparent elbow on scrum-half Morgan Parra.


England head coach Stuart Lancaster has warned his men about the need to retain their composure in Saturday's RBS 6 Nations title decider.


Farrell said: "I need to concentrate on my job and if I don't I will get found out.


"Everybody tries to get to the half-backs. I will just concentrate on my job.


"The thing is with being a 10, you have to be one step ahead.


"When we are in defence you have to bring energy, talk a lot, get people off the line and get stuck in - but when it comes to attack you have to be one step ahead.


"That's all what I'm concentrating on at the weekend."


Farrell limped off against France with a thigh strain that ruled him out of the 18-11 win against Italy but he has been reinstated at fly-half for Saturday's decisive clash.


Lancaster relishes Farrell's "warrior spirit" and he has no concerns about his usually unflappable temperament, a quality he describes as "unique" in young players.


"I think the bigger the game is, the more you've got to concentrate and focus on your job," Farrell said.


"You can't get lost in the occasion. A lot of players talk about big games and they go quickly because you're that lost in the game and caught up in what is happening on the field, not what's happening around it.


"You're focusing on what is in front of you. That's tough, but it's what international rugby is all about. People will be walking off this pitch mentally drained at the weekend."


Everything is on the line this Saturday. If England win they will wrap up their first Grand Slam in a decade. A Wales victory by seven points should be enough to retain them the title.


"Anybody who plays in the Six Nations wants to win a Grand Slam and wants to play on the big stages and to be involved in the biggest games," Farrell said.


"I feel like the more we are together and the more people talk, the tighter we get. We are a really tight-knit group and we really work hard for each other.


"Everybody pushes each other in a good way. It is a brilliant place to be because that.


"That shows in games - the last 10 minutes against Italy when we were defending on our line and in our own 22, the boys were outstanding.


"That's what we will take into this game."

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