Thu 30 Jun 2022 | 01:52

Why Farrell 'spat the dummy' after England team selection

Why Farrell 'spat the dummy' after England team selection
Thu 30 Jun 2022 | 01:52
Why Farrell 'spat the dummy' after England team selection
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REACTION: Eddie Jones admitted Owen Farrell “wasn’t very happy” after Courtney Lawes was named England captain Thursday for the opening Test against Australia.

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It is a match the under-pressure coach, Jones, is desperate to win.

Veteran back Farrell had been Jones’s go-to man as skipper since 2018, but ankle injuries forced him to miss the entire Six Nations this year, with Lawes taking the armband.

Jones opted to stick with experienced blindside flank Lawes for the opening Test of the three-match series, although Farrell returns, having last played in the 32-15 win over the Wallabies in November 2021.

“Owen’s a bloke who expresses his feelings clearly,” Jones said.

“He wants to be captain.

“When I told him he wasn’t going to be captain, he wasn’t very happy,” the coach added.

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“Courtney Lawes has got a good sense of togetherness, he’s calm, engaging with the players.

“He’s the right fit for this tour.”

Veteran scrumhalf Danny Care was handed a first start since 2018 while big forward Billy Vunipola is back for the first time since March last year.

Australia also sprung some surprises with lock Cadeyrn Neville and hooker David Porecki awarded debuts in a powerful pack, while playmaker Quade Cooper got the nod over James O’Connor.

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Farrell will start at inside centre with Joe Marchant at outside centre. Joe Cokanasiga and Jack Nowell are on the wings and Freddie Steward at fullback.

Jonny May, second only to Rory Underwood in England’s list of all-time leading try-scorers, was not in the match-day 23 after contracting Covid on arrival in Perth last week.

In another blow for the squad, Bath lock Charlie Ewels suffered a knee injury in training on Wednesday and has been ruled out of the tour.

Hooker Jamie George joins props Ellis Genge and Will Stuart up front with Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill in the second row. Tom Curry is openside flank and Australian-born Vunipola makes his first appearance for England since the Six Nations last year at No.8.

Expectations high

England has won all eight of their Tests against the Wallabies since former Australia coach Jones took charge after the 2015 World Cup, including a 3-0 series whitewash six years ago.

But performances this year have been lacking and Jones admitted he was under the gun.

“Every international coach is under pressure, I’m under pressure because the results aren’t good enough,” he said.

“Our expectations are high, the media’s expectations are high, everyone’s expectations are high and that’s ok.”

Australia coach Dave Rennie stressed the importance of the lineout maul against England, an area where Neville excels.

“Nev is a very big man… very important to us from the set-piece point of view, very good at the maul, lineout and scrum. Same with Porecki,” he said.

Angus Bell, Darcy Swain, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Leota and Rob Valetini join them in the pack with flank Michael Hooper leading the side again in his 119th Test.

Veteran Cooper won the battle for the No.10 shirt ahead of O’Connor, who failed to make the bench, and will reunite with fellow Japan-based backs Samu Kerevi and Marika Koroibete.

Cooper will also reignite his partnership with scrum-half Nic White for the first time since leading the Wallabies to five straight Test wins in 2021.

 

PV: 9
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