Eddie Jones rules out dropping ‘outstanding’ Owen Farrell after poor performance against Scotland

Captain's below-par display has led to questions over his place

Duncan Bech
Thursday 11 February 2021 08:56
<p>Owen Farrell underwhelmed against Scotland</p>

Owen Farrell underwhelmed against Scotland

Eddie Jones has no intention of dropping Owen Farrell on the strength of Saturday's defeat by Scotland but insists England's captain is not immune from demotion.

Farrell's below-par performance in the Calcutta Cup debacle at Twickenham has led to scrutiny over his place amid concern that his influence on the field has declined due to a slide in form.

Operating behind an outmuscled pack, the Saracens fly-half turned down overlaps in favour of kicking the ball and was powerless to inspire the champions as they floundered in a one-sided start to the Guinness Six Nations.

READ MORE: England will never 'atone' for Scotland defeat

Jones, however, has made it clear that Farrell will remain in the starting XV for Saturday's visit of Italy.

Owen Farrell in action against Scotland

When asked if he would drop his skipper, England's head coach said: "Every player's up for selection.

"It's all dependant on form - you look at historical form, present form and you have to make the right decisions for the team and Owen's no different to any other player.

"Owen was disappointed with his performance against Scotland, like a number of players and like I was in my own performance and we're all working to improve.

"Owen's been a highly-consistent, highly-successful player for us. Like a number of players on Saturday, he wasn't at his best. I know there's a bandwagon.

"He's an outstanding player and, like any outstanding player, they can have a game where they're not at their best. Is that a reason to drop the player? I wouldn't think so.

"We are always trying to make the right assessment. We had to go through a difficult stage with (former captain) Dylan Hartley when his form was tailing off.

"We gave Dylan an amount of time to pick up his form but, due to injury and a number of other circumstances, it just wasn't right for the team.

"It's the same for anyone who's the captain of the side, they've got to keep performing at a high level.

"But having one game where they're not at the level expected is not a reason to start speculating on whether he's going to be dropped or not."

Jones defended Farrell once more when he was asked about the Lions playmaker's reluctance to launch his backline in favour of kicking.

"There are five million situations in the game and we don't coach five million situations," Jones said.

England have added props Kyle Sinckler and Mako Vunipola to their 28-man squad at the expense of Harry Williams and Tom West.

Sinckler missed the Scotland defeat due to serving a ban for swearing at a referee, while Vunipola has been out since November with an Achilles injury. Vunipola has fully recovered and will face Italy.

"They're both exceptional players. Mako is the elder statesman of the side, an experienced player," Jones said.

"He's been training really well. He's got a lot of conditioning in him and we feel that he'll be available for selection.

"Kyle was dynamic for us during the autumn. It's good to have those two back."


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