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Farrell: Smith partnership off to a good start

Farrell: Smith partnership off to a good start

Owen Farrell says his partnership with Marcus Smith got off to a promising start after they helped England to an eighth successive win against Australia.

Smith’s promotion from the bench to the starting XV for England’s second Autumn Nations Series match was the talk of the town, with Farrell moved from fly-half – where he was due to start in last week’s game against Tonga before contracting Covid – to inside centre to accommodate him.

They showed what they can do in the seventh minute by combining to set up Freddie Steward for the game’s first try, a move Eddie Jones described as one of the best he’s seen since becoming England head coach.

Farrell kicked 17 points, including five penalties, in a scrappy game to steer the hosts to a 32-15 win, while Smith also dissected the posts from the tee late on.

And the England captain says there is plenty to work on but was pleased with how they started.

“I thought it was okay, it was a good start but it can get a lot better, as with a lot of things we did,” he said.

“I think the lads did a lot of good work last week against Tonga, we have done what we needed to do today and make sure we build on it.

“We did what we needed to do. Playing Australia is always a massive game and to be back in front of 80,000 people is brilliant. We will take today but we know we can be better than that.”

Farrell might have had No.12 on his jersey but he often stepped in to be the first receiver, with Smith given the license to find space outside.

Farrell was taken off in the second half with a foot injury but says he expects to be fit to face South Africa on Saturday in a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final.

“We want this team playing to all its strengths and we have a lot of talented players out there on the pitch,” he added.

“We are trying to make sure we get the best out of all of them, so hopefully we build on it this week.

“They [South Africa] are a fantastic team and a very tough team to play against. We should get massively up for it.”

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