Owen Farrell blossoming into natural Test match inside centre – Mike Tindall
World Cup winner Mike Tindall hailed England’s Owen Farrell and George Ford for building a bona fide partnership.
Owen Farrell is blossoming into a “natural” Test match inside centre, according to World Cup winner Mike Tindall.
England’s most-capped centre Tindall has hailed Farrell and George Ford for forging a “genuine partnership” at 10 and 12 in Eddie Jones’ set-up.
The 2003 World Cup-winning midfielder believes England are itching to hit their free-flowing best in Saturday’s NatWest 6 Nations clash in Scotland.
And the former Gloucester and Bath star expects British and Irish Lions playmaker Farrell to produce another top-level showing in the weekend’s Calcutta Cup encounter at Murrayfield.
“I used to think there would be a better option at 10 and 12 for England, but now Ford and Farrell are playing as a genuine partnership,” Tindall told Press Association Sport.
“If I was going to pick my own pairing, I’d probably have Farrell at 10.
“But the way the two of them have played in the last two games, Farrell’s actually playing like a natural 12 now, rather than a 10 playing at 12.
“I think he’s hitting lines, he’s fully acting as a distributing 12 as they like to see.
“And that’s allowing Ford to play better in terms of just bossing the game, running lines with knowing Farrell’s off him, whereas before he’d be looking at space or putting in behind or what we do out the back.
“Now if there’s space, Farrell’s running straight at it, and it’s looking a whole lot better. Now it’s a viable inside back partnership.
“And we know how good Farrell is at 12 defensively and bossing the team, so it fits in well to that and is looking good at the moment.”
England thumped Italy 46-15 and edged past Wales 12-6 to start their bid for a record third successive Six Nations title. Now Jones’ men will face Scotland on Saturday, with Tindall urging England to return to their expansive attacking best in Edinburgh.
Saracens backline general Farrell has racked up 55 caps in the six years since his 2012 England debut, initially growing into a major force at fly-half, but shifting without fuss into the centres under England’s taskmaster, Australian coach Jones.
“I had this conversation with Owen, that when he plays 10 for Sarries he plays fly-half like an inside centre for them, running lines off their forwards,” said Tindall.
“So he’s actually always effectively had the game to be comfortable at 12, but we’re really seeing it for England now. In the last two games he’s been outstanding there.
“He was making line-breaks against Italy and put in that fine kick for Jonny May’s try against Wales.
“I think he’s fully understanding that role now for England, and he’s doing the job as exceptionally as we would expect him to.
“I’d just like England to go out with a confident swagger and actually go out and play their natural game and get it spot-on in Scotland.
“They can really cause teams problems, and I’d like to see them go out and have a go.”
Tindall was speaking after helping deliver a new £7million helicopter to the Midlands Air Ambulance Service, with public donations raised in just three years funding the new aircraft.
“It is a huge honour to be an ambassador for this initiative,” said Tindall.
“To think that this helicopter will save thousands of lives and all through donations raised so quickly is incredible.”