Stand-in skipper Courtney Lawes believes Owen Farrell controversy can fire up England’s World Cup bid… with under-fire fly-half joining up with the squad in Dublin despite being left out of Ireland clash
Stand-in skipper Courtney Lawes believes the adversity around Owen Farrell can light a fire beneath England’s World Cup preparations.
Farrell was with the squad at Friday’s captain’s run in Dublin, despite being left out of the team to face Ireland as the saga continues around his overturned red card.
England’s performances have been underwhelming but Lawes says any frustrations can be channelled into delivering an improved display at the Aviva Stadium.
‘If it wasn’t Owen in this situation then there probably wouldn’t have been as much uproar,’ said Lawes. ‘I think it’s impossible to ignore it.
‘I’m not the kind of bloke to worry about this kind of stuff, so it kind of goes over my head, but boys like [Ellis] Gengey and that have kind of tapped into it a bit this week.
Skipper Courtney Lawes has called on England to channel their frustrations against Ireland
Owen Farrell (right) was with England on Friday ahead of World Cup warm-up against Ireland
‘But to be honest, I’m not bothered about the noise.
‘This is an interesting adversity because it’s an individual player, we’re not in the World Cup yet, we can’t peak too early and we have to be careful of that.
‘So checks and balances and all that kind of thing. We can certainly tap into a bit this week because it’s a big game and it’s important to us.’
Farrell will be in the stands for Saturday’s game, rather than carrying out any waterboy roles on the pitch.
The World Rugby appeal against his overturned ban will take place next week.
Retired referee Nigel Owens voiced his opinions on the situation, claiming the sport is in ‘big trouble’ if it does not take action.
Writing in his Wales Online column, Owens said: ‘Owen has a history of making this kind of tackle, he’s been punished before and perhaps got away with a couple too.
Farrell was sent off at Twickenham on Saturday night for a high tackle on Wales’ Taine Basham
‘This is foul play, it’s an illegal charge, it’s not an accident. He’s always leading with the shoulder, he’s made contact with the head and, sorry, he’s got to take the consequences.
‘It’s hugely important for the good of the game and player safety that we do all we can to encourage players to go away from tackles like this.
‘The important message here to everybody involved in the game is, despite whatever reasons that the judicial officers had for their decision, this was a red card and should continue to be a red card for the good of player safety and the future of the game as well.
‘Quite simply, if we don’t deal with actions like this as a red card offence, then the game is going to be in big trouble moving forward.’
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