'We are not scared of the All Blacks'
November 30, 2012
Owen Farrell receives some pointers from his coach father Andy © Getty Images
Farrell will start at fly-half for England on Saturday, stepping in for injured Toby Flood, and he has called on his team to end the autumn Test series with a win, after falling to Australia and then the Springboks. The All Blacks are currently on a run of 20 matches unbeaten but Farrell is adamant that England have enough about them to consign the Kiwis to their first defeat since August 2011.
"New Zealand are a world-class team. They are unbeaten in 20 matches - that is the challenge to look forward to, there is no point being scared of it," Farrell said. "Rugby is a game that I love. It's not a game that I'm scared of.
"It may be a game against the best team in the world but it is still another game of rugby. I know we've been on the wrong side of two results (against Australia and South Africa) but we've got better and better and we've pushed teams right to the end. Hopefully it's time to win one this weekend."
Farrell will line up against fellow IRB Player of the Year nominee Dan Carter and the Saracens half-back admitted he was taken aback by his inclusion on the shortlist for the prestigious award. "It is very humbling to be alongside the other players on the list. They are all world class," Farrell said. "I didn't really understand it at first. I was getting all these messages and I didn't know what was going on.
"The lads have congratulated me and so-on but the main focus is this weekend."
Farrell starts his first game for England since their first Test in South Africa back on June 9 and boss Stuart Lancaster was full of praise for the 20-year-old. "He has huge qualities," Lancaster said. "I don't think the nomination has made any difference to Owen. It hasn't made him any more apprehensive or more confident in his own ability.
"He is a pretty grounded lad. I don't think he will be getting carried away. He will be concentrating primarily on the challenge of managing an England team against the All Blacks and playing against Dan Carter.
"One thing Owen has got above a lot of players, he has big game temperament. It is a quality that is very important in international rugby."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies