Lancaster ponders dropping Farrell


Published: Tuesday 25th November 2014 by The News Editor

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England head coach Stuart Lancaster is giving serious consideration to dropping Owen Farrell and starting Billy Twelvetrees at inside centre for Saturday’s QBE International against Australia at Twickenham.

Lancaster has confirmed that George Ford will be retained at fly-half following his composed full debut in the 28-9 victory over Samoa, leaving Farrell and Twelvetrees to battle it out for the number 12 jersey.

While Ford excelled against the Pacific Islanders, Farrell failed to argue a convincing case for his retention and his place in the team is now under pressure.

“George has earned the right to start again. He’s played well enough for that,” Lancaster said.

“Billy Twelvetrees impressed me from the bench against Samoa. He did well and brought good energy to the team.

“He’s worked hard on the feedback we gave him when he came back into camp and he’s a genuine prospect for us at 12.”

Lancaster is ready to reinstate Tom Wood to England’s back row after dropping him for the first time in his England career against Samoa with James Haskell taking over at blindside flanker.

Haskell was quiet against the Pacific Islanders and Lancaster hinted that Wood’s absence has had the desired effect on his desire to face the Wallabies.

“It often helps selection when you give someone an opportunity and then you have someone as competitive as Tom who never likes missing one minute of training, never mind one minute of international rugby,” Lancaster said.

“There was definitely a reaction from Tom in training during the week and when he came on against Samoa, although he gave away a penalty, his contribution was good.

“A fired up and motivated Tom Wood is a pretty useful weapon to have in your armoury.

“We wanted to give James Haskell an opportunity on the back of his club form and we were always going to generate that chance for him.

“Tom’s line-out option is one to consider for this weekend because of the pressure we feel we can put on the Australian set piece.”

Published: Tuesday 25th November 2014 by The News Editor

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