Farrell excited by England selection 'feast'

 

Andy Farrell is excited by the "feast" of talent available to England as they look to make a fresh start for the Six Nations.

But the Saracens head coach, who will join Stuart Lancaster's interim England management team next month, warned there would be no cheap caps on offer.

Lancaster will announce England's 32-man Six Nations squad on January 11 and it could include up to 17 players who did not feature in the World Cup.

"There are a lot of guys putting their hands up. It is going to be interesting during selection," Farrell told BBC Sport.

"We are (spoilt for choice) and that has to be an exciting thing, a fresh start for everyone and some exciting players to choose from. It is a feast for us at the minute.

"We have to get (the balance) right. Nobody gets a cap if they are not ready and we have got to make sure the balance of the team is right."

Farrell has helped Saracens produce a clutch of contenders. His son Owen and fellow centre Brad Barritt, full-back Alex Goode and flanker Andy Saull all enhanced their credentials against Harlequins yesterday.

Lancaster, who was among the record 82,000 crowd at Twickenham, will also have been watching the Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw, full-back Mike Brown and prop Joe Marler.

Elsewhere, Gloucester centre Henry Trinder, London Irish flanker Jamie Gibson and Sale forward James Gaskell are all seen as the future for England.

Lancaster is permitted to make 10 selection changes to England's 30-man World Cup squad and add two players to make it a 32-man party for the Six Nations.

England will also need to replace retirees Jonny Wilkinson, Steve Thompson and Lewis Moody, plus the injured duo of Richard Wigglesworth and Andrew Sheridan.

"Stuart and Graham Rowntree are getting about the country and talking to a lot of people, seeing a lot of directors of rugby and a lot of rugby," Farrell said.

"I am watching the games week in, week out as far as my job is concerned here at Saracens. We keep meeting up every now and again, keep chewing the fat and it is good to talk."

Saull joked after Saracens' 19-11 Aviva Premiership victory over Harlequins that he had been slipping Farrell senior envelopes of cash to help his England chances.

But the Saracens youngsters could not have sent out a stronger message than with their recent performances at Twickenham and back-to-back Heineken Cup victories over the Ospreys.

"For people like myself, Andy, Owen, Brad and the other English guys in our team it is that stepping stone we need to try and get noticed at the top level," Goode said.

"You have to be playing consistently in the big games. The Ospreys had 10 or so internationals and that is where the likes of us young lads have to play well.

"If you keep putting performances in back to back then you put yourself up there to be noticed."

Farrell is being seconded to England for the Six Nations but Goode and Saull agree that Saracens' loss will be the country's gain.

"He will get the best out of players," Goode said.

Saull added: "I have worked with Stuart and Faz together (with the England Saxons). As a coaching pair they complement each other so well. Together they are very good.

"Stuart is very methodical and is very good with a gameplan. Faz is relentlessly positive, never negative.

"As a player you know exactly what you need to do, you are being praised for it which builds belief and confidence in the squad that you are the best team on the pitch."

PA

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