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VIDEO – Farrell: Australia are my biggest rivals

02 November 2013

  • Andy Farrell delivers the final word on England Australia at Twickenham
  • "It’s the biggest rivalry where I come from" – England backs coach
England backs coach Andy Farrell in action against Australia for Great Britain Rugby League

Photo: Getty Images

Andy Farrell insists England must hit the heights of Test match intensity from the start against Australia this afternoon if they are to overcome his most bitter sporting rivals.

Stuart Lancaster’s side slipped to an ignominious 20-14 defeat to the Wallabies – a third in their last four visits – this time last year after being caught out by the visitors’ physicality and agility at the breakdown.

Speaking at the captain’s run after watching England complete their final run preparations, the England backs coach said absolute clarity of their individual roles within the team picture will allow the players to relax in final 24 hours before kick-off.

“It’s a long time until kick-off so if they’re getting fired-up on a Friday, they’re going to be burnt out on Saturday. The main thing for the players is that they understand their jobs 100 per cent so that they can relax and go and perform.

“We’ve been together for nine days now and a lot of work and detail had been put into those nine days, so come the end of the week the boys have got to own it and run it because they’re the boys that are taking it out onto field.”

During the course of a otherwise glittering rugby league career, Farrell faced the Kangaroos 17 times for Great Britain, but only emerged on the winning side on four occasions. That enduring heartache bred animosity and respect in equal measures, with the former GB skipper keen to “get one over” on Australia.

England backs coach Andy Farrell at training

Photo: Getty Images

He said: “It’s the biggest rivalry where I come from and I’ve be unfortunate to be on the wrong side of it more often than not. There is a rivalry because of the history between the two countries and we always like to get one over on each other.

“But it’s more than that; this is our home and we must make sure Australia feel that. The intensity must be there in abundance [at kick-off ]but we’ve got to make sure we control it too.”

Farrell leads on England’s defence and his primary focus has been Wallabies halfbacks Will Genia and Quade Cooper, reinstated as Australia’s attacking fulcrum by new head coach Ewan McKenzie.

The duo matured under McKenzie’s expansive, attack-minded Queensland Reds outfit and after close observation of Australia’s recent games, Farrell has seen that style of play permeating their performances.

“Quade Cooper and Will Genia know the game plan and the attacking strategy inside out,” he added.  “We all know how the Reds like to play and over the last three games, especially in the second half of the South Africa game when Genia came on, you could see the Reds style of play unfolding.

“Australia are renowned for their attacking play and well renowned for scoring points in all internationals that they play. I think they’re brought up, obviously the weather helps, with ball in hand for forwards and backs and they’ll look to play the Australian brand of rugby and we must be aware of that.”