Owen Farrell recalls emotional roller-coaster ride of exile from England team
Owen Farrell is eager to make his mark on the Rugby World Cup after riding an emotional roller coaster watching England’s opening two matches.
Farrell has been reinstated as captain and fly-half for Saturday’s clash with Chile having served a four-game ban for the dangerous tackle made against Wales almost six weeks ago.
England’s talisman watched from the stands as Argentina were routed in defiance of Tom Curry’s early red card and eight days later a slow start against Japan made for a high-octane final quarter.
Having put himself through the wringer as spectator, Farrell will find relief in finally being thrust into the action.
“I don’t detach myself from it – I’m knackered by the end to be honest! Especially after that first one against Argentina,” Farrell said.
“I wouldn’t describe myself as a good watcher. I feel involved, I feel like I’m out there at times.
“I feel every emotion that goes with it, sometimes even more than I would if I was playing. I wouldn’t describe myself as the best in the stands!
“I wouldn’t say I am unbelievably loud, it’s just more the emotion of the game. I feel like I go through it all time.
“I’m massively excited to be back. I’ve been looking forward to getting to the World Cup and it’s been tough-ish not playing.
“It’s been brilliant to see how well the lads have been doing on the pitch and I’m desperate to be a part of it.”
George Ford has excelled at fly-half in Farrell’s absence by winning back-to-back man of the match awards, including a masterclass in game management against Argentina.
Ford drops to the bench for Saturday’s Pool D showdown but is expected to appear in the second half, reforming the playmaking axis with Farrell last seen two and a half years ago.
“George has obviously been playing fantastic. It’s exactly what you want as an England player,” Farrell said.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the way he’s been performing – and the lads as a group. It can only be good for the team with players playing well all across the park.”
With Marcus Smith starting at full-back, England could have three fly-halves on the field in the second half.
“To have two very good players around you is a very big plus for me,” Farrell said.
“The way we go about working together is pretty open and we’re constantly talking about the game and constantly trying to get on the same page about the way that we see the team.
“I’d hope that over the however many weeks that we’ve been together that we’ve developed a better relationship over the course of that.
“Marcus has come on and impacted the game at full-back. He wants the ball, he wants to make a difference, he wants to get the team on the front foot and I see it being no different on Saturday.”
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