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Owen Farrell: England stronger than last Wales meeting

Owen Farrell has warned Wales that England are a different team to the one that collapsed to a harrowing defeat in last autumn's World Cup.

The 128th meeting between the old rivals sees the RBS 6 Nations title at stake with the winners almost certainly going on to seize Ireland's crown, the Red Rose potentially managing that achievement as early as Sunday when Scotland host France.

Among the most painful of the 57 defeats endured by England was the 28-25 loss in September that set the hosts on the path to World Cup ruin, throwing away a commanding position amid a spectacular loss of nerve in the final quarter.

Thirteen players may remain from the matchday 23 used on that crushing Twickenham evening, but Farrell insists Eddie Jones' team have moved on.

"It's different now, we're in a different place. We're however many months on from that," the Saracens centre said.

"There's not a week that we spend together where we don't get better. That's happened since we've got here. That's what we are focusing on.

"We make sure we leave no stone unturned, but we are concentrating on getting better."

In the closing moments during the pool showdown in September England decided to kick for touch and launch an attacking line-out instead of taking shot at goal, but the gamble failed when their line-out was pushed into touch.

It transpired they would have qualified for the knockout phase had they taken a successful shot at goal and skipper Chris Robshaw ultimately paid for the decision by losing the captaincy.

If Robshaw's successor Dylan Hartley leaves the pitch at Twickenham on Saturday, Farrell is the nominated leader and the responsibility for making late calls will fall on him.

"We've gone through some scenarios. I think we've prepared well. We've got all the big things covered off," Farrell said.

"It's not pre-planned. Some decisions are obvious, some aren't. Some you need a feel for how the game is going, some are dead set decisions. We'll know when to use which one."


From Belfast Telegraph