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Farrell rejects O'Connor claims

Owen Farrell hit back at criticism from Leicester head coach Matt O'Connor and dismissed his claims that England are negative and take the field simply "trying not to lose".

O'Connor's comment formed part of a stinging attack on the way Leicester's out-of-favour half-backs Toby Flood and Ben Youngs have been treated by England's interim coach Stuart Lancaster.

"He is entitled to his own opinion. We have our own views. We are excited about the way we are playing at the minute," Farrell said."The way we played against Wales was a massive step in the right direction for us and we all thought that."

Flood has dropped behind Farrell and Charlie Hodgson in England's fly-half pecking order and will not be involved in Sunday's RBS 6 Nations game against France.

Youngs, who has been struggling for form, is expected to be on the England bench in Paris but he has lost the starting scrum-half jersey to Lee Dickson.

Furious O'Connor claimed Lancaster's interim management team are not interested in creative players and that England are wasting their best attacking threats.

Farrell added: "It was still disappointing to lose a game when we created quite a few chances but we are massively excited about the way we are going and I hope we can build on that.

"I don't see how else you go into a rugby game (but trying to win it). I don't think I have ever had a mindset to just avoid defeat otherwise you don't play how you want to do.

"The way we played the game against Wales the other week proved that. We have got brilliant players all over the field and we are using them right at the minute, we just need to finish our chances. We are going in the right direction. It is coming.

"There is a structure in place but it is a structure which allows you to be yourself and play the way you play. We have got massive belief in what we are trying to do. Every game we have got better as a team."


From Belfast Telegraph