Farrell still not 'settled'

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:34
Large owen farrell   eddie jones 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Owen Farrell has insisted he has yet to feel totally relaxed in the England set-up even though he is on the brink of winning his 50th Test cap.

The Saracens star is now set to reach the landmark aged just 25 should he be selected for Sunday's Six Nations international against Italy at Twickenham.

Farrell, as first-choice goalkicker and inside centre, has been one of the mainstays of Grand Slam champions' current 16-match unbeaten run.

But his skills are not restricted to a good boot, with Farrell's well-timed pass setting up a match-winning try for Elliot Daly in a 21-16 win away to Wales earlier this month.

This weekend could see Farrell at flyhalf, with a new centre partnership of Ben Te'o and Daly outside him, but it is now hard to imagine England opting to go into a major match without him in whatever position.

Yet Farrell, the son of former dual code international Andy Farrell, dare not allow himself to feel comfortable lest it lead to a drop in his standards.  

"I don't think you ever feel comfortable and I don't think that anyone here would tell you that they feel comfortable," Farrell said.

"And that's the way it should be, because there has to be a drive to constantly improve.

"I've not thought about winning the 50th cap too much. I need to get picked first and have a good week.

"The thing here is that it's all about getting better and I go on about it, but that's all I concentrate on."

Farrell, who made his debut against Scotland four years ago, was at first regarded initially as a player with a sound kicking game and strong defence.

But, as his part in Daly's try showed, there are certainly more aspects to his play now.

"I hope I have improved a lot and have come a long way since my debut. It was all right - there were quite a few new caps at the same time as me so there were a few of us in the same position," he said.

"Of course I was nervous. You probably build it up into something that it is not. It is another game, but you are going into the unknown."

Meanwhile the fiery temperament that sometimes leads Farrell into needless trouble on the field appears to have been curbed under current England coach Eddie Jones without any loss of effectiveness on Farrell's part.

"The more aware you are of things, the more control you can have," Farrell said.

Farrell made his debut for Saracens, the reigning English and European champions, in 2008 - the same year that England forwards coach Steve Borthwick joined the London club.

"I was fortunate that I saw him coming through as a youngster at Saracens," said Borthwick. "There are a lot of different moments that I can think of, but the one that struck me was when we played a Heineken (European) Cup games against Racing Metro.

"There were three different times in the game when we were down by 13 points... and he was always totally composed saying 'how are we going to win this game?'.

"He led us back into the game and was tremendous," the former England captain added. "This was from a 21-year-old. He's got a tremendous competitive spirit and brilliant composure under pressure."

Agence France-Presse

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ulster v Treviso 19h05 Kingspan Stadium
Leinster v Dragons 19h35 RDS Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 19h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 19h45 Kingston Park
Sat, 25 November 2017
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 12h45 Welford Road
Bath v Harlequins 12h45 Recreation Ground
Italy v South Africa 13h00 Rome
Scotland v Australia 14h30 Edinburgh
England v Samoa 15h00 Twickenham
Wales v New Zealand 17h15 Cardiff
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 17h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Ireland v Argentina 17h30 Aviva Stadium
France v Japan 19h00 Paris
Sun, 26 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Liberty Stadium
Kings v Scarlets 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Zebre v Munster 13h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Saracens v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Allianz Park
London Irish v Wasps 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Fri, 01 December 2017
Kings v Edinburgh 17h15 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 24 November 2017
Cheetahs v Edinburgh 33 | 13
Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 31 | 17
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 35 | 27
London Irish v Bath 18 | 22
Sat, 18 November 2017
France v South Africa 17 | 18
Scotland v New Zealand 17 | 22
Ireland v Fiji 23 | 20
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 40 | 10
England v Australia 30 | 6
Wales v Georgia 13 | 6
Italy v Argentina 15 | 31
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 30 | 15
Fri, 17 November 2017
Gloucester v Saracens 23 | 17
Tue, 14 November 2017
France XV v New Zealand 23 | 28
Sat, 11 November 2017
France v New Zealand 18 | 38
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0
France 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0