Owen Farrell and England left floundering after Scotland chaos

first_imgShare on Facebook England are still mentally scarred by 2015 World Cup, says Eddie Jones Scotland rugby union team Rugby union The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Eddie Jones Just as 12 months ago, the end of the Six Nations marks the beginning of an inquest into England’s failings. They may not be as widespread or as deep‑rooted as last year but the shortcomings are evident nonetheless. Share on LinkedIn Six Nations 2019 Share via Email … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. 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Owen Farrell Share on Messenger Support The Guardian news Share on Pinterest Read more Six Nations Strictly speaking, Farrell is Jones’s co-captain along with Dylan Hartley but it remains to be seen when the latter will return from his knee injury and it is hard to see Jamie George being dislodged as England’s starting hooker. With no Maro Itoje or Chris Robshaw in the side, the leadership void was obvious as England let a 31-0 lead become a 31-38 deficit.Take nothing away from Scotland’s comeback – inspired by Farrell’s opposite number Russell, who used every piece of armoury to unlock England’s defence – but, as impressive as it was, the final result says more about the home side’s failings and Ben Youngs was quick to call for more individuals to take responsibility. Read more Eddie Jones spoke at length about the mental fragility of his side in shipping 38 unanswered points to Scotland but if there is a common denominator to the two halves that have cost England this year’s title it is that their captain, Owen Farrell, has played poorly in both.Perhaps it was lost in the chaos that unfolded at Twickenham on Saturday but Jones’s decision to remove Farrell from the fray with 10 minutes to go felt significant so close to a World Cup campaign. He was matter of fact about it – “Owen lost a bit of his edge” – but it is a surprise, nonetheless, that Jones did not want his captain on the field when the temperature was at its highest. The problem was that Farrell was playing poorly, directly responsible for tries scored by Stuart McInally and Finn Russell, but in addition he was lucky to avoid a yellow card for another shoulder barge and he had lost his cool in his dealings with the referee, Paul Williams.That is not to hang Farrell out to dry – as Jones said afterwards, “you never lose because of one player” – and everyone is entitled to the odd off-colour performance but it was a reminder of how reliant England are on their fly-half and captain. We saw as much during the autumn when Farrell positively affected outcomes and the same was evident in a negative sense on Saturday. It is unthinkable that he may sustain an injury and England go to the World Cup without him but as much as that is a credit to his usual standards, it is also to Jones’s disadvantage. “He’s the hardest taskmaster in the world and he’ll be disappointed with his game,” Jones said. “He’s a young captain and I think he’s developing really nicely. I’m very pleased with him. Like any young captain it takes time. You don’t put a ‘C’ next to someone’s name and they learn every lesson on how to manage a game.” “You can’t be that ruthless in the first half and then be so toothless in the second,” he said. “We want to go back to structure and yet we are taking quick lineouts. Some of these are individual decisions that we’ve got to be accountable for. Had the game been tighter earlier, would we be doing some of those things? We absolutely wouldn’t be. Getting trapped into that circus of chucking it around, which isn’t what we are about, that’s disappointing.”For Scotland there is something tangible to cling to as the World Cup comes into view with the successful defence of the Calcutta Cup, achieved by an injury-hit squad. “At the time we were probably thinking that if we came back and showed a true picture of ourselves in the second half and get a couple of tries and keep them try-less, that would be a positive achievement to move on to the World Cup,” said Gregor Townsend, who also admitted Scotland had discussed whether they ought to have allowed England to score a try in the corner at the death, ensuring a difficult conversion, rather than keep playing as they did with George Ford ultimately going over under the posts, thereby making the extra two points a formality.“There was chat after the game among management and players that maybe we should have let them score in the corner. But you can’t fault the effort. You would never think about letting a team score in the corner because of the standard of goalkicking these days.” Since you’re here… Six Nations’ team of the tournament: Wales and England dominate best XV Topics Reuse this content Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter England rugby union teamlast_img

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