Owen Farrell vows to fight for the England spirit in face of criticism
Owen Farrell has vowed to "fight for what we have here" to protect Stuart Lancaster's tenure and keep England's World Cup dream alive.
Fly-half Farrell branded former England captain Will Carling's midweek barbs as "irrelevant" ahead of facing a do-or-die World Cup clash with Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
Carling claimed head coach Lancaster treats England "like schoolboys", leading Farrell to lambast pundits "just passing comments that don't really mean anything".
Lancaster's job will be on the line if England lose to Australia and become the worst-performing host nation in World Cup history by failing to qualify for the quarter-finals.
"It's all about winning this weekend, building a performance to put us in the place to win this game - if not we're out of this tournament," said Farrell.
"We've got to fight for what we have here, which is important to us.
"The only way to do that is to prepare the best we can and put us in the best place we can be.
"It's definitely the game of our lives.
"I don't get how they (pundits) comment like that, how they think they know what goes on inside this camp. But that's for them to say.
"All we know is what goes on in here and that's all we concentrate on to be honest. It doesn't matter what people say on the outside.
"I didn't hear about it until the lads got questioned about it here. It's irrelevant to us.
"There's always going to be people coming out and trying to say what they think. But I think it's easy to be negative, especially after a loss obviously.
"To actually watch the game and study it and to come up with an actual opinion of it, I think that's harder to do.
"So a lot of people just jump on the negative side of things, and just throw in comments that don't mean anything.
"Other people who have watched the game and actually have an opinion on the game will come up with something.
"Maybe you'll agree with it, maybe not, but at least you respect that.
"Sometimes it's just passing comments that don't really mean anything.
"You don't hear about them until we come in here and get asked."
England's galling 28-25 defeat to Wales at Twickenham last weekend leaves their World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.
Lancaster's men will face huge pressure against a resurgent Australia side, boasting twin breakdown specialists David Pocock and Michael Hooper in their starting XV.
England twice led by 10 points in the second half against Wales, but were unable to close out the victory, leading to a barrage of criticism labelled at boss Lancaster and captain Chris Robshaw.
Playmaker Farrell admitted frustrations with brickbats aimed at Lancaster, insisting the England squad are united behind their boss.
Lancaster dredged England out of the doldrums after a terrible 2011 World Cup campaign punctuated by ill-discipline and poor form.
Farrell believes the England squad still owe Lancaster a great debt for reinstalling high levels of humility among the nation's top stars.
"We've got massive respect for Stuart," said Farrell.
"I think he did things in the right way from the start.
"He laid some solid foundations and got a culture that means a lot to us.
"That makes us want to play for each other and want to fight for each other.
"On top of that he's brought a lot back about what the shirt means for us.
"Everyone's proud to be English and play for England and this team, for the country, their families and friends.
"There's a lot of history in this shirt and we've got to make sure we do that justice."