Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Farrell not fazed by earlier errors

Owen Farrell kept his cool despite early misses for England.

England fly-half Owen Farrell insists his duty to the team prevents his composure from unravelling at moments when it is being tested.

Farrell scored 15 points in Saturday's 20-13 QBE International victory over Australia at Twickenham, but just as impressive as that haul was his recovery from a challenging spell.

Three missed penalties in succession and a hesitancy on the ball as Australia built a 13-6 lead were forgotten when the 22-year-old held his nerve to spearhead the fightback.

A match-winning try, combined with a penalty and two conversions, steered England to victory against their 2015 World Cup pool rivals.

"Keeping it together is something I learned pretty early on - when I started playing," he said.

"Why should you let it affect you? You've got to move on. There's too much to focus on in terms of your next job.

"If you're focusing on what has just happened then you're not going to have a grip on the game and that's what a fly-half's job is.

"Irrespective of how a kick went, you've got to back yourself and go again.

"You've got to have a clear head and think about what went wrong, but then you've got to put it behind you and move on. I just get on with it."

Aware of Farrell's ability to maintain composure when challenged by his own mistakes, head coach Stuart Lancaster refused to panic even when Australia were in danger of pulling away.

"It's his temperament that carries him through," Lancaster said.

"Ian McGeechan talks about Test match animals and the ability to absorb the pressure of playing under the spotlight. He seems to be able to do that.

"He won't have been pleased to have missed the kicks and on another day he will have kicked all three.

"We were under pressure after missing those and then we conceded a soft try. We were under pressure when we should have been winning at half-time.

"But he doesn't get fazed by a miskick and doesn't let it affect him. I always had the confidence in him that he'd bounce back in the second half."

Farrell believes the victory ensures England will enter Saturday's clash with Argentina with renewed self-belief.

"This was a big game for us. Last year against Australia we were a bit slow out of the blocks," he said.

"Now, after that, our confidence will be flying. We know we've got stuff to work on - the first half wasn't the most fluid - but we'll put that right and be confident going into next week.

"The character the lads showed, the fight that was there and the way we took the game to them in the second half was outstanding."

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