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This is our opportunity to realise boyhood dreams – England captain Owen Farrell

Only South Africa stand between England and the Webb Ellis Trophy.

Owen Farrell has urged England to seize their opportunity to win the World Cup (Adam Davy/PA)
Owen Farrell has urged England to seize their opportunity to win the World Cup (Adam Davy/PA)

By Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent, Tokyo

Owen Farrell expects his England team-mates to seize their opportunity to realise their boyhood dreams by emptying the tanks in Saturday’s World Cup final.

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South Africa stand between Eddie Jones’ side and the Webb Ellis Trophy as the sport’s top two teams prepare to face off at International Stadium Yokohama in a repeat of the 2007 showpiece.

In recognition of how tight the contest could be – England are favourites but the Springboks have the firepower to cause mayhem up front and in midfield – Farrell was on Friday practising drop goals under the guidance of Jonny Wilkinson.

As the extra-time architect of Australia’s downfall in the 2003 final, Wilkinson’s counsel has been sought on the eve of a seismic clash between rivals who are tied at 2-2 in meetings over the last 18 months.

And Farrell has echoed Jones’ mantra of approaching the match with “no fear” by offering all-out commitment in the climax to the first Asian World Cup.

“Everybody wants to be involved in this game and there are probably a lot of people who grew up wanting to be involved in this,” Farrell said.

“Now this opportunity has come around, you want to enjoy it, you want to go for it.

“You don’t want to dip your toe in and see what happens, you want to throw all of yourself into it and that’s the way that we’ll look to go about it.

Rugby World Cup final key battles (PA Graphics)

“There are a lot of lads who have a good feel for where the group is and we’ll be open enough to feel what’s needed before the game.

“We’ll let that happen and hopefully prepare in a way that allows us to throw ourselves into it and be free.”

England enter the repeat of the 2007 final with a good luck message from Prince Harry that included a photo of his son Archie in a Red Rose jersey and a warning from Jones to be ready for anything.

South Africa’s Rassie Erasmus steps down after the World Cup and Jones is an admirer of a coach he describes as “cunning”.

“Rassie’s a very good coach, he’s an outstanding coach. He’s inventive, so they’ll have a few tricks up their sleeve,” Jones said.

Rugby World Cup team of the tournament (PA Graphics)

“They’ve got great players: Faf De Klerk has probably been the half-back of the tournament so far and Willie Le Roux is a fantastic player at full-back.

“And they’ve got talent like Cheslin Kolbe on the wing, so we’re expecting the unexpected.

“We’ve just got to focus on each moment and play with no fear. What I feel is that the squad know how hard they’re going to have to work to win the game.

“They know South Africa aren’t going to give us the game. They also know we’ve got to go out there and win the game.

“We’ve been nicely building over four years and this is our opportunity on Saturday to put it all together. One last chance.”



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