Farrell sounds rallying call to England
November 9, 2012
Andy Farrell has called on England to deliver © Getty Images
Andy Farrell has challenged England to kick "on to the next level" when the inexperienced side comes face-to-face with Fiji on Saturday.
England have handed a debut to Tigers hooker Tom Youngs while there are a further two uncapped players on the bench - Saracens' Mako Vunipola and Wasps' Joe Launchbury. England will face Fiji before tackling Australia, South Africa and New Zealand on consecutive weekends and Farrell wants his team to push on after a difficult three-Test tour against the Springboks in June where England came up against a highly physical and clinical outfit.
"We have to make sure we set the same level as far as intensity, passion and fight but the boys also understand that they have to kick on," Farrell said. "To be the best and beat the best, there is an extra 15 to 20 per cent there.
"We are six months into our journey and there has to be improvement. It is about the performances, it is about us kicking on to the next level. It doesn't really get any more exciting than the challenge in front of us over the next month. It is about the performances, it is about us kicking on to the next level."
Farrell missed the three-Test tour to South Africa which saw England return with a draw and two defeats to their name but he was part of the interim coaching team that guided the side through the 2012 Six Nations. And while England will start their autumn Test programme against arguably the easiest side of the four teams they are set to come up against, Farrell is quick to emphasise the dangers that Fiji possess.
"We all know their athletic ability is second to none," Farrell said. "They are fast, skilful, powerful with good feet and good hands. They will be a challenge for us defensively and we have to make sure we are in control of our game and put Fiji under pressure.
"We want to be able to perform and be composed at the top level. This is certainly the top level we are coming up against. You will always look for that perfect performance. The reality is that we haven't played for three or four months so I suppose there will be a lot of learning to come out of this game for us, so we can kick on for the rest of the autumn.
"The work's done now as far as the preparation is concerned. The boys are led well, with the leaders that they've got, they know exactly what they're doing and the trust is of the highest order."
England will field a relatively inexperienced line-up, with 11 of the starting side heading into the match with 13 caps or fewer. The captain Chris Robshaw only has eight caps himself but he is not concerned by England's lack of experience.
"These guys play massive Heineken Cup games," he said. "Look at a player like Toby Flood, who is bossing the attack, and Danny Care - they have 80-odd caps between them in the key half-back positions. You need that experience of course but they can help other players around them to help drive the standards."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton pays a visit to Oxford University Women's Rugby Football Club who have recently made headlines across the world, from Tokyo to New York
"Gentlemen, if you want to see the World Cup going south yet again, you are going the right way about it," John Taylor looks at the state of European rugby
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points