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Farrell expects England to produce

Andy Farrell has challenged England's young guns to prove they are ready to compete with the the best in the world - by dispatching Fiji in Saturday's opening QBE autumn international.

The buzz-phrase in the camp this week has been that this autumn is "production time" for England, that the brutal lessons learned in South Africa over the summer must be put into practice. They open their series against the Fijians and then face the world's top three nations in Australia, the Springboks and world champions New Zealand.

Defence coach Farrell said: "We have to make sure we set the same level as far as intensity, passion and fight but the boys also understand that they have to kick on. To be the best and beat the best, there is an extra 15 to 20 per cent there."

He continued: "We are six months into our journey and there has to be improvement. It is about the performances, it is about us kicking on to the next level.

"It doesn't really get any more exciting than the challenge in front of us over the next month. It is about the performances, it is about us kicking on to the next level."

England were beaten up in the first two Tests of the summer as they struggled to match South Africa's intensity but they responded courageously to draw 14-14 in Port Elizabeth.

Farrell missed the tour after initially turning down the opportunity of a full-time coaching role with England but he watched those matches on television, itching to be involved.

"It's been brilliant to be back involved and build up to a Test match," Farrell said. "We feel that, after gradually building up over the two weeks, we're ready.

"The work's done now as far as the preparation is concerned. The boys are led well, they know exactly what they're doing and the trust is of the highest order. Hopefully we can bring on to the pitch the way we've been playing in training.

"You will always look for that perfect performance. The reality is that we haven't played for three or four months so there will be a lot of learning to come out of this game for us, so we can kick on for the rest of the autumn."


From Belfast Telegraph