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Farrell lauds England’s self-belief after dramatic comeback draw

Farrell lauds England’s self-belief after dramatic comeback draw

2022 Autumn Nations Series, Twickenham, London 19/11/2022 England vs New Zealand England's Owen Farrell Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

On the occasion of his 100th England cap, captain Owen Farrell was brimming with pride that his team had the belief to come back and draw 25-25 with New Zealand at Twickenham.

Fans were treated to an electric game of rugby that saw the All Blacks leading their hosts 17-3 at the interval thanks to two early tries from Dalton Papali’i and Codie Taylor.

Rieko Ioane went over shortly after the break to make it 22-6 but Eddie Jones’ men roared back in the final eight minutes, Will Stuart the unlikely hero.

His two tries either side of Freddie Steward leaping over sent Twickenham into raptures and Farrell was delighted with the way England responded after a tough start.

He said: “Obviously they came out firing and we probably added a few errors on errors, but it didn’t feel like we were far off, probably 1% or 2%. But 1% or 2% against New Zealand is a big drop off.

“What we did do is we stayed calm and we believed the whole way through and for that I’m really proud of the boys.

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“We’re growing. This team’s not been together too long and it feels like we’re getting tighter, it feels like we’re getting closer on the field as well as off the field.

“We’re a team that wants to go at the other team. We don’t want to wait for opportunities or mistakes. That [try from Steward] was a glimpse of it today.

“We’re starting to understand each and every week we have together we get better. That got tested today but we stuck with it and believed in it.”

Marcus Smith had the ball in hand when the clock ticked past the 80-minute mark, but elected to seal the draw, which Farrell discerned to be a wise choice.

“It depended on where we had the ball. It was a pretty difficult place to go from,” said Farrell.

“They were piling the bodies in and we had a lot of bodies off feet, so in the end it was the right decision I think.”

On the subject of joining an elite group of England men’s centurions, alongside Ben Youngs and Jason Leonard, Farrell characteristically hailed the crowd for creating an exceptional atmosphere.

“It’s special,” said Farrell. “It’s hard to take it in during the week when you’ve got a big game like this at hand.

“But I’m unbelievably grateful to have it here today in front of this crowd which was phenomenal. We’re going to need them next week.

“To have my family and friends here was brilliant. But as I was saying during the week to the boys, the exciting bit is in front of us, where we can take this team.

“That’s what I can’t wait for now.”

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