Six Nations

England skipper Farrell puts past rows behind him

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Pascal Gauzere, Owen Farrell (Photo by David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)
Pascal Gauzere, Owen Farrell (Photo by David Rogers - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images)

Owen Farrell has insisted he won't be distracted by the flak that has come his way when he leads England out in their Six Nations clash against France at Twickenham on Saturday.

This edition has seen the England captain facing calls to be dropped from the team, with the Saracens' playmaker's leadership skills called into question.

An uninspiring defeat by Scotland in reigning champions England's tournament opener saw Farrell criticised for ignoring a huge overlap and kicking the ball away.

Meanwhile, a loss to Wales in Cardiff last time out saw Farrell struggling to get on the same wavelength as referee Pascal Gauzere, with the visitors conceding numerous penalties, even if the Frenchman later admitted he had erred in awarding the Welsh two first-half tries.

"I don't think I dwell on it," Farrell told reporters on Thursday, with England's hopes of a successful title defence having all but evaporated.

"You soon come to realise what's important and how you learn from things, take them going forward and put everything into the next thing.

"If you hold on to things for too long you take your eye off what's actually going on now and what you can do to be in this week and be in the preparation for this game.

"I understand people have opinions. That's fine. We are obviously going through a process of how to get the best out of ourselves and that's more what we are focused on."

'Dangerous' Malins

Elliot Daly, a club team-mate of Farrell at Saracens, has been dropped by England coach Eddie Jones after a below par display against Wales, with the British and Irish Lions man's place at fullback taken by Max Malins.

Having flourished at Bristol after a loan move from Saracens, the 24-year-old Malins is now set to make his full England debut against title-chasing France after six appearances off the bench.

"He's gone to Bristol in a year that's been brilliant for him and gone through the roof in terms of having regular game time and showing how good he is consistently," Farrell said of one-time flyhalf Malins.

"Max is a dangerous fullback. He makes things happen.

"He's quick and he's strong and he's got a great instinct about the game, which is a brilliant quality to have."

Farrell added: "He's always been able to beat people, he's always been able to open the game up... He's probably now just doing it more and more with the more chances that he's got."

Kick-off is at 18:45 (SA time) on Saturday.

Teams:

England

15 Max Malins, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Owen Farrell (captain), 11 Jonny May, 10 George Ford, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Tom Curry, 6 Mark Wilson, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Jamie George, 17 Ellis Genge, 18 Will Stuart, 19 Jonny Hill, 20 Ben Earl, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Elliot Daly

France

15 Brice Dulin, 14 Damian Penaud, 13 Virimi Vakatawa, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Matthieu Jalibert, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Gregory Alldritt, 7 Charles Ollivon (captain), 6 Dylan Cretin, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Romain Taofifenua, 3 Mohamed Haouas, 2 Julian Marchand, 1 Cyril Baille

Substitutes: 16 Camille Chat, 17 Jean-Baptiste Gros, 18 Dorian Aldegheri, 19 Cyril Cazeau, 20 Cameron Woki, 21 Anthony Jelonch, 22 Baptiste Serin, 23 Romain Ntamack

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