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England superstar 'not good enough' - Matt Dawson

By Ian Cameron
A general view as Elliot Daly of England speaks with teammates as they huddle after defeating Japan after the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between England and Japan at Stade de Nice on September 17, 2023 in Nice, France. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Former England rugby legend Matt Dawson has claimed that Owen Farrell may be unable to force his way back in England’s Rugby World Cup squad.

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England’s relatively impressive start to the tournament, with victories over Argentina and Japan, has seen the suspended Farrell having to watch from the sidelines.

Farrell is still serving time for a headshot on Wales flanker Taine Basham during the Rugby World Cup warm-ups but in his absence Sale Sharks’ standoff George Ford has grabbed the reins and impressed at ten for the men in white.

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Dawson, known for his outspoken opinions, now believes that Farrell faces an uphill battle to reclaim his place in the team. While Farrell has been a pivotal figure in English rugby for years, Dawson’s scepticism speaks to the fierce competition at 10 within the squad.

“I don’t think Owen Farrell is good enough to get in the team at the moment, but let’s see how he goes over the next couple weeks,” the former England scrumhalf told BBC Radio 5 Live. “The off-field dynamic of how great Owen Farrell is, I have heard for years and years, but I have just not seen it on the pitch.

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“What I do see up close and analyse is how he plays for England. I don’t see him bringing anything that isn’t already there. I would not put Marcus Smith in as a starting 15 but there is nothing wrong with bringing him on if you need to change a game up.”

Head coach Steve Borthwick was in the rare position of being able to enjoy two back-to-back wins, and told reporters that he was happy with the direction of travel of his side.

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“I think that having the full coaching team together for this summer has been an opportunity for us to work as hard as we can to make ground quickly.

“You’ve seen strides in some of the fundamental aspects of the game. You’ve seen growth in our attack. It’s always the way that you build the fundamentals through defence, your kicking game, your set-piece and your breakdown, and the attack always takes the longest to come because it takes cohesion.

“Some [coaching] teams have had eight years with the same coaching team to build through that and we’ve had three or four months with our full coaching team in place.

“We’re working exceptionally hard every day to move forward.”

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