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Farrell not distracted by Ireland

By Iain Strachan

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Owen Farrell says England are not paying undue attention to Ireland’s progress in the lead-up to the 2019 Six Nations, as the fly-half prepares to captain his country against Australia.


England have defeated South Africa and Japan either side of a narrow loss to New Zealand in the November internationals, and will sign off on their run of Tests with a showdown against the Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday.

Dylan Hartley, England’s regular skipper for much of head coach Eddie Jones’s reign, will start on the bench this weekend, leaving co-captain Farrell to lead the team.

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And the 27-year-old is wary of looking ahead to the Six Nations opener against champions Ireland in Dublin in February.

“We won’t get too caught up with what Ireland are doing [because] as soon as we look anywhere else we will stop focusing on ourselves and what we can do to take us to a new level,” Farrell was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.

“It is about getting us right, making sure we peak on Saturday. Regardless of how many times we have played Australia, we have to be able to perform when the going gets tough. As we saw last weekend [against Japan], we found what we needed to do, not through shouting and screaming but through calmness and clear thinking.”


Questioned on how he will approach the captaincy, Farrell said: “Nothing has changed in the way I do anything. There are leaders all over the field that drive the team forward. It is not just me. There are a number of guys who step up. There is enough belief and trust in the person next to you to feel that it will be alright. I don’t think about it [the burden of leadership] too much. I would be the way I am anyway.”

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