Owen Farrell: ‘This will make us have a good look at ourselves’

Owen Farrell came off the bench for England in their 10-53 loss to France on Saturday
©INPHO/Tom Maher

Owen Farrell stands in front of media in the bowels of Twickenham Stadium following England’s largest ever defeat at their home stadium.

He is wearing his one’s, his hands in his pockets and seems as though he would do anything not to be stood in front of the media.

Coming off the bench with over 30 minutes still to play, the 105-cap international was helpless as France embarrassed England to pick up a 10-53 win.

Like in the autumn, Farrell and his teammates were booed off the field. That result ultimately led to the dismissal of Eddie Jones as head coach, but now England are left with a week to prepare to take on Ireland in Dublin to conclude the Guinness Six Nations.

Unable to compete against the sheer power of France, England were hopeless on their way to victory, the gamble to start Marcus Smith not paying off in the slightest and leading to the nation’s third-heaviest loss in Test match history.

“I don’t think you ever expect to lose like that at home as an England team,” Farrell lamented. “You don’t expect to lose that way as an England team.

“They got ahead to a pretty good lead, and we found ourselves chasing the game. When you are chasing the game against a good team, you can get stung, and we did.”

After picking up wins over Italy and Wales in their last two outings, there had been a feeling that England had turned a corner as life under Steve Borthwick continued.

Neither of those victories were stunning, pragmatic probably the most appropriate word to use, but any ounce of that pragmatism against France was devoid.

When asked, just an hour after the humbling defeat, about what was spoken about the loss, Farrell says that he and his teammates will look internally in the coming days.

“We’ve not gone into too much detail to be honest, at the minute,” Farrell said. “Obviously the result and the scoreline is pretty disappointing for us. It is never nice. 

“Most of the people in that room have been through it at some stage. Not normally with England, definitely not normally with England. 

“I guess the thing for us is nothing really changes. We’ve got to improve. This will make us have a good look at ourselves.”

What was said in the dressing room?

“It was just hard in there,” Farrell said. “Again, there was nothing too specific. It’s just that when we’re under pressure, even when we’re not under pressure, everything that we want to do, we want to do it together and we want to draw on the power of the team and make sure that we’re improving and make sure that we’re fighting for everything. That was pretty much the gist of the message.”

Up next are Ireland who play Scotland at BT Murrayfield on Sunday afternoon in a potentially decisive clash in the Six Nations title race.

Coached by Farrell’s father, Andy, Ireland are World Rugby’s top ranked Test side and have been good value for it.

Winning a series against the All Blacks last summer, as well as ending France’s 14-game unbeaten run several weekends ago, meaning the going has gone from tough to brutally tough for England.

Fabien Galthie’s team made things look easy at times. Charles Ollivon, Thibaud Flament and Damien Penaud all got braces, while full-back, Thomas Ramos, was the star of the show.

So far off the pace on Saturday evening, England fans will no doubt be bracing themselves for another horror show in a weeks’ time at the Aviva Stadium as the odds continue to stack against Borthwick’s fledgling side.

There are so many questions for England to answer. The opportunity for the side to improve is minimal with just several days before travelling to Dublin, while the Rugby World Cup this September also draws ever closer.

“It’s not exactly about next week,” Farrell said. “At this moment in time, we’ll obviously analyse our own game first.

“We’ve got a chance to watch them tomorrow, but I imagine a pretty good chunk of it will be focussing on us and seeing what we can improve and how we can do it together.”