Six Nations 2014: Owen Farrell is tough adequate to take a lead

“I unequivocally like a proceed England are personification during a moment,” pronounced Wilkinson, who was benefaction during a two-point detriment in France a fortnight ago that was followed by a 20-0 win in Scotland, while Ireland kick a Scots and Wales with points to spare.

“The whole thing looks plain and professional,” he added. “I’m looking during any actor and they seem to know where they’re ostensible to be and what they’re ostensible to do when they get there. Not personification like robots, nonetheless carrying A and B options and doing it darned well.”

The Irish are formidable to read, not since their formula make no sense, as a late Milligan referred to, nonetheless since final week’s confinement of Wales’s fortifying champions astonished everybody who pigeon-holed their coach, Joe Schmidt, as married to artistic rugby and insisting on any actor being means to pass.

Ireland finished large tackles, gathering tough in a kick and deployed their expensively gifted Lions fly-half Jonny Sexton especially to belt a round downfield. “Ireland have got that glow of a Grand Slam possibility, when any diversion is do or die,” pronounced Wilkinson. “England know if they kick Ireland they competence win a tournament. And they are during home.

“If England are critical about their possess World Cup subsequent year, they’ve got to put a pen down in this diversion that says, ‘This is where we belong, and here we don’t lose’.”

Wilkinson won a Slam once, in Dublin in 2003. He has begun coaching during his club, Toulon, in credentials for his retirement from playing, and in Paris he held adult with his former team-mates, now England’s backs coaches, Andy Farrell and Mike Catt. Midfielders all, and what an area of change it will be subsequent Saturday.

“Sexton’s a outrageous competitor,” pronounced Wilkinson. “When I’ve played conflicting him, we can hear him – he’s never happy, he final a outrageous volume of everybody around him, and is a large personality in that Irish team, some-more so now that guys like Brian O’Driscoll are removing to a latter theatre of their careers. Sexton is in an extraordinary position, in good form.

Of Sexton’s conflicting series in a England ranks, Owen Farrell, a former No 10 said: “He is younger, and he’s building into that role. He’s had a tough tour to start with, underneath a outrageous volume of inspection over who should be starting. He’s dealt with that enormously well, and not customarily that nonetheless he’s finished a kicking and never let himself down in that respect. Hopefully now he’s benefiting from carrying a structure in place where he can say, ‘I’ll do this, afterwards this’ rather than full-frontal panic.”

But there is counsel in Wilkinson’s assessment. “Owen has immature backs around him and there’s no one there, we think, who’s means to tell him, ‘This is what we’re doing’. When we assimilated that England group during 18, we had Jeremy Guscott, Mike Catt, Paul Grayson and Matt Dawson. I’d make decisions and they’d say, ‘No, we’re not doing that’, and I’d say, ‘Fine’. At his age [Farrell incited 22 progressing this month], that’s a ruin of a responsibility.

“I remember confronting New Zealand during Twickenham in 2009 [aged 30 and with 72 caps]. we was irritable about it nonetheless we told myself we didn’t have a right to feel like that since there were younger guys in that group looking to me. So we finished it my impulse to say, ‘Follow me, I’ll make a decisions’. Owen has had to say, ‘I don’t have a right to be nervous’, even nonetheless he is. That’s tricky. I’m admiring it since his mental toughness is over where we was during that age, to say, ‘Sod it, let’s get on with it’.”

The rugby-loving Milligan’s proceed to wing play was formed on evasion: “If a 16st actor was about to locate me we customarily attempted to hit on or step into touch.” Now, with England’s Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees around, that 16st actor can be a centre.

Ireland’s O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy are not of a same grievous measure nonetheless they are a world’s many capped centre partnership, and conflicting Wales they were focused, unflashy and dominant.

“Twelvetrees is Mike Catt-ish,” pronounced Wilkinson, “he’s knocked about during No 10 and will know what Owen Farrell is going through. He can contend to Owen, ‘Just give this one to me’ or ‘You go right, I’ll go left’, as Catty used to do for me. Twelvetrees can also pound a round up.

“Then you’ve got your athletes outside, your Burrells. He is going to take defenders off we since he’s got footwork, he’s got strength, he’s got a handoff, he’s got ability to pile-up by tackles.

“The pivotal there is experience. The risk for England lacking knowledge is a miss of cohesion. O’Driscoll and D’Arcy have seen any eventuality on a rugby field. England have to make adult that disproportion by bargain of a gameplan, articulate to any other and adhering together. There’s no reason because that England midfield shouldn’t go in thinking, ‘Why are they going to mangle us?’

“Ireland have a lot of faith and passion and drive, and I’ve felt a full rage of that in a past, when it doesn’t matter how structured we are, if these guys keep using during you, eventually you’re going to go backwards. It’s roughly over human.

“England need to say their bargain and fortify nonetheless get tighten to relating Ireland’s passion and ferocity. They need to glow it adult to accommodate a Irish guys conduct on, to even out that personification margin – afterwards compare gameplan for gameplan.”

Key contests during Twickenham

Mark McCall was a centre for Ireland in a 1990s and played twice conflicting England during Twickenham. Now executive of rugby during Saracens, who have 6 players in a England patrol for subsequent week’s match, he picks a pivotal areas of confrontation:


It all flows from this. Ireland’s container haven’t come adult conflicting anything like England’s yet. Ireland won’t be means to kick them like they did conflicting Wales. The English have 6 tip ball-carriers. Their set-piece needs to improve, and substantially will.


Ireland this deteriorate rest reduction on a throttle tackle. They’re going lower. If we choke-tackle a large man like Luther Burrell and get it wrong we find yourself 5 metres behind a gainline. They will chop-tackle a large group early and get over a ball.


England’s counterclaim is a best. The some-more round Scotland had, a worse it got for them. But Joe Schmidt’s too crafty for that to happen. Ireland have a accumulation that won’t concede England only to come off a line and pound Ireland behind a gainline.

Kicking game

Schmidt’s so clever; nobody saw what was entrance conflicting Wales. If England dump players behind to negate a kicking diversion Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy and Johnny Sexton will put a round into opposite channels where there are weaknesses. Either way, Jonny May’s positioning will be tested.

Generating momentum

If England have to play with normal set-piece ball, and play off three-second rucks, do Billy Twelvetrees and Burrell have a nous and knowledge to do what D’Arcy and O’Driscoll can do? D’Arcy gets over a gainline with shining footwork, O’Driscoll is a master kicker.


Peter O’Mahony is attack nonetheless Ireland have mislaid a game-changer in Sean O’Brien. Remember that try in France, when Billy Vunipola got a round behind in dual hands after a hand-off and afterwards finished a right pass? It was unusual skill. He is a game-changer – if he’s on a front foot.

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