Owen Farrell looking forward to backline with Marcus Smith, Manu Tuilagi as England prepare for Argentina | Rugby Union News


Owen Farrell is back to lead England against Argentina after completing his return to play protocol

Owen Farrell says England are ready for a tough encounter with Argentina and he is looking forward to working in a backline with Marcus Smith and Manu Tuilagi.

Farrell will lead England out at Twickenham Stadium after his return to fitness following concussion. Tuilagi and Joe Cokanasiga also return to the team, with Northampton forward Alex Coles set to make his Test debut.

Farrell joined England at the start of the week having not traveled to Jersey for a training camp due to him sustaining a concussion while playing for Saracens.

England’s captain admitted he found it tough being on the sidelines while the rest of the squad were training.

“I’m looking forward to getting back, it’s not nice sitting at home doing not a lot,” Farrell said, after being announced as captain on Friday.

“It would have been alright if I was getting on with something, but I was just sat a home. I’m not the best at just sitting there. It’s just got me more excited to get back this week.

“I wasn’t allowed to do too much, so just trying to rest to get my sleep and make sure I gave myself the best chance.”

England’s Autumn Internationals

Sunday, November 6 England vs Argentina 2.15 pm
Saturday, November 12 England vs Japan 3.15 pm
Saturday, November 19 England vs New Zealand 5.30 pm
Saturday, November 26 England vs South Africa 5.30 pm

England face an Argentine side that beat both Australia and New Zealand in the Rugby Championship as Los Pumas continue to build under the stewardship of Michael Cheika.

“It’s a big one [challenge],” Farrell noted. “A tough, tough game. Obviously, they’re a very physical and passionate team that we’ve got to be ready for.

“They’ve got danger all over the field. At the minute, they seem to be able to strike from any point. It’s not just the structured situations that are opportunities for them but the unstructured ones, especially with the backs that they’ve got. We’ve got to make sure we’re engaged for 80 minutes.”

15 Freddie Steward, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Jack Nowell, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Alex Coles, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Maro Itoje, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Billy Vunipola. Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Dave Ribbans, 20 Sam Simmonds 21 Jack Willis, 22 Jack van Poortvliet, 23 Henry Slade.

Farrell will lead England with Smith on one side of him at fly-half and Manu Tuilagi on the other at outside centre. It is a unit that has been eagerly anticipated by England fans and one Farrell himself wants to develop further.

“I’ve known Manu for a long, long time, we’ve played together since we were 17. Obviously, we’ve both gotten to know Marcus pretty well over the last couple of years,” he said.

“It’s another opportunity for that relationship [10-12-13] to develop. We’ve been working as hard as we can at training to make sure we’re progressing forwards, but the real test comes on Sunday.

“We want to make sure that everyone knows it’s about the team and it’s how we step forwards as a group. As I said, it’s going to be a big battle up front in this Test match first of all, we’ve got to then be ready as a three and as a backline to make good decisions off the back of that.”

Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith will link up together and both are eager to develop

Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith will link up together and both are eager to develop

Smith and Farrell have only played together a handful of times and England’s captain believes there’s plenty of growth and development along the way.

“You’re learning about each other no matter what,” Farrell said. “The key thing is that we’re both pretty keen and passionate about not just getting to know each other, but getting better quickly.

“A lot of our conversations revolve around that. I’m very happy to do that, I could talk along those lines all day and Marcus is similar. He’s someone who wants to improve, get better and run this team as best he can.

“It’s important to get to know the person as well. We’ve known each other for a good while, not played too much together, but he’s been involved here for a good while and spent a bit of time on that Lions tour. We We’re looking forward to it. He’s a special talent.”

Farrell and Smith have the nous and ability to interchange within England’s structures, something they have done before and the captain explained more about this.

“All we’re trying to do is to get each other on the ball in places we think are our strengths. That’s not coming from us, that’s fitting in the framework of the team,” Farrell said.

“He’s someone who can split a game open and make something happen out of nothing, we want to get him involved as much as we can do in those sort of situations. I guess, that’s part of my job to get him the ball in those sort of situation.”

Jones: We have a number of captains in our squad ‘An adaptable leadership group’

England head coach Eddie Jones believes his side are building towards a strong leadership group, headed by Farrell, that can work in any circumstances.

Indeed, with the likes of Courtney Lawes having taken the armband in Farrell’s absence, Jones knows he can turn to many of his team to step up into that role.

“We are planning for a number of people to be captain and we will need to,” said Jones.

Eddie Jones believes England's autumn internationals will be the ideal dress rehearsal ahead of next year's Rugby World Cup in France

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Eddie Jones believes England’s autumn internationals will be the ideal dress rehearsal ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup in France

Eddie Jones believes England’s autumn internationals will be the ideal dress rehearsal ahead of next year’s Rugby World Cup in France

“We have just seen Courtney captain the team in Australia and Owen could play and get knocked out in the first minute of the game or get a yellow card so we are prepared for a number of people to take the captaincy.

“We want to develop this adaptable leadership group that can lead this team in any circumstances and that is our goal and we are moving towards that every time we get together.”

Although Jones knows he has a number of players to rely on, he still believes Farrell is the main man to lead England at this time.

“He has just got a huge competitive spirit,” he added.

“He wants to win, he understands how to win, and I don’t think I have seen too many players with his competitive spirit.”

England’s meeting with Argentina starts a busy autumn of internationals with meetings against Japan, New Zealand and South Africa to follow on successive weekends.

England: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Owen Farrell (c), 11 Jack Nowell, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Alex Coles, 5 Jonny Hill, 6 Maro Itoje, 7 Tom Curry, 8 Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Joe Heyes, 19 Dave Ribbans, 20 Sam Simmonds 21 Jack Willis, 22 Jack van Poortvliet, 23 Henry Slade.

Argentina: 15 Julian Cruz Mallia, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 1 Thomas Gallo, 2 Julian Montoya, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 4 Matias Alemanno, 5 Tomas Lavani, . Juan Martin Gonzalez, 7 Marcos Kremer, 8 Pablo Matera.

Replacements: 16 Ignacio Ruiz, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Eduardo Bello, 19 Lucas Paulos, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Eliseo Morales, 22 Tomas Albornoz, 23 Matias Orlando.





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