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Owen Farrell keen to continue upward curve at Stade de France

08 March 2012

  • "Most exciting thing about Wales game was how much I learnt" - Farrell
  • 20 year-old wary of "dangerous and experienced" France side
Owen Farrell in training at Pennyhill Park

Photo: Getty Images

According to Owen Farrell, England’s agonising loss in their last RBS 6 Nations fixture at Twickenham a fortnight ago can invigorate Stuart Lancaster’s side as they look ahead to a testing trip to the Stade de France.

20-year-old Farrell, who put in an assured performance from fly half in the 19-12 defeat to Wales, applauded the HQ atmosphere before outlining his intention to maintain the impressive start to his Test career.

“The way the crowd got behind the team was exceptional,” explained the Saracens youngster. "It was a massive privilege to play in front of them and it made me feel that there is nowhere I’d rather play rugby.

“I thought I did okay but the most exciting thing about that game was how much I learnt. There is still a great deal of improvement for me to do.

“You have to be a harsh critic of yourself. If you don’t single things out to work on, then you won’t get better."

Though England’s next opponents looked rather sluggish during a 17-17 draw with Ireland on Sunday, Farrell refused to entertain the notion that Les Bleus would be anything less than the sternest of opponents.

“France have unbelievably dangerous players,” he said. “They are also massively experienced, so they have the ability to tear teams apart.

Wesley Fofana, one of France's most mercurial talents

Photo: Getty Images

“The way they came back in the second period [at the weekend, after trailing 17-6 at half-time] just showed how tough our task is going to be. You can never underestimate them.

“Having said that, we are looking forward to the challenge and will go there with a plan and, hopefully, we can impose our game.”

Despite acknowledging the immense talent Philippe Saint-Andre has at his disposal, Farrell seemed confident in England’s defensive structure, which has looked sturdy so far in the Six Nations.

“If we defend as a team, get off the line well and stay on the same page, we will be alright. We work on that every day and never defend as individuals – it is about the whole team. That will stand us in good stead.

“Just like every other game in the Six Nations, this will be hard. You expect every game to be tough because each one in international rugby is like a cup final.”

Having been deployed at both centre and stand off over the course of his three caps, Farrell revealed that he had no preference, as long as his involvement in the team remained.

“I enjoy playing anywhere,” he added. “I am happy to fit in wherever I am needed and am just pleased to be on the field.”