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Farrell: Evolving England want to kick on

Farrell: Evolving England want to kick on

Owen Farrell England

Owen Farrell believes evolution is the key to long-term success as a new-look England begin their preparations for the Autumn Nations Series.

Head coach Eddie Jones has named four uncapped players in his 34-man squad, while eight others only made their Test debut in the summer, and said he wants his team to play with an attacking mindset.

England scored just 112 points in the 2021 Guinness Six Nations, the second-fewest in the tournament, and Jones is keen to address that in matches against Tonga, Australia and South Africa.

His captain, Farrell, will be a key player once again due to his ability to play at either fly-half or inside centre, and says it is important they continue to add strings to their bow.

Click here to watch the Autumn Nations Series

“We want to improve, we want to get better. We talk about this side kicking on but ultimately we want to win. We want to play well and win,” he said at the Autumn Nations Series launch.

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“That could be in any which way but we want to evolve our game and we will see how that plays out. We will be fighting to win these games.

“I think all of the best teams in the world play a bit differently, they all have their own identity and play the game in a certain way. We try to do the same and we look at the opposition to see how we can put our game on them.

“It is a great challenge as it always is. They [Australia and South Africa] have come from the back of the Rugby Championship and have played quite a bit together.”

One player who could feature prominently for England this autumn is fly-half Marcus Smith, whose strong end to the 2020-2021 Premiership season with Harlequins was rewarded with a late Lions call-up.

Smith knows his way around the England camp, having been selected multiple times by Jones as a development player, while he made his first Test appearance against USA in July.

A Smith-Farrell combination at 10-12 is a mouth-watering prospect and Farrell is impressed with what he has seen so far.

“He is obviously a massive talent and a very exciting player. We have worked together before, he has been in camp before when he was a bit younger and we have shared a room together in the past,” he added.

“It was good to get to know him in the summer and he is a brilliant lad and not just a very talented player but a proper student of the game. That sounds cliché but I mean he is bothered about getting better and understanding it more.

“He loves chatting about rugby and that made it easy for me to get on with him. He seems like he is confident because he has done the work, because he is a student of the game and knows what he wants to get out of it.

“When he speaks, he speaks sense and that helps your confidence and helps when it comes to playing in the position he does.”

Farrell open their Autumn Nations Series campaign against Tonga on November 6, before hosting Australia a week later and finishing their month with a re-match of the 2019 World Cup final against South Africa.

Farrell is expecting a tough challenge but is excited to play in front of a full house at Twickenham once again.

“Tonga are a proud, physical nation that love their rugby and we’re expecting it to be a tough game and we love playing against the best teams, of which Australia and South Africa are at the minute,” he said.

“We have not played them for a while now and so it would be good to have them back here and in front of a full crowd, which we are all massively excited for.”

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