Owen Farrell: Twickenham boos ‘definitely hurt’ as new England seek to get fans back on side

Colin Newboult
Six Nations: England captain Owen Farrell is hoping to impress the Twickenham crowd on Saturday after they were roundly booed in their final match of 2022.

England captain Owen Farrell is hoping to impress the Twickenham crowd on Saturday after they were roundly booed in their final match of 2022.

The Red Rose produced a poor display against South Africa in their last game of the Autumn Nations Series, going down 27-13 to the Springboks.

It meant they finished the year with only five victories in 12 Tests, which resulted in Eddie Jones’ men being booed by their own fans.

Jones was subsequently sacked, and a new era was ushered in following the appointment of Steve Borthwick as their new head coach.

Disappointing

“Definitely,” Farrell told the BBC when asked if the boos had hurt his side.

“You think there’s no-one more disappointed than us at the time. To have not given the best account of ourselves was disappointing.

“We were disappointed in ourselves. It didn’t feel good.

“Hopefully this crowd on Saturday sees a team that’s willing to fight for each other, to work as hard as they can for 80 minutes to get the result.

“They’ll play a massive part in that.”

Despite the change in head coach, Farrell is set to reprise his playmaking partnership with Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith.

The captain admits that his position does not matter, providing it results in the team working effectively as a unit.

“The only thing that matters is the balance of the team,” he said. “It’s the whole picture that we’ve got to get right.

“There’s no point in me and Marcus working on our partnership and trying to get that right when we need to look at the whole picture.”

Borthwick’s first game in charge sees them take on Scotland in the Six Nations, a side they have not beaten at home since 2017.

“We are playing a tough, tough team, who have been on the right side of results for five years,” Farrell told Sky Sports.

“We are looking forward to challenging ourselves against a good team.

“I’ve been a fly-half for most of my career but it’s whatever fits into the team. There was a lot made out of this in the autumn, but the key thing for me is how the team runs.

“People like to focus on partnerships and who is played where, but for us it’s how we prepare and make sure we get the best of ourselves as a team.”

Big challenge for new England

England captain Farrell certainly understands the challenge Scotland will pose in their opening match of the Six Nations this weekend.

“I think we have won one in the last five years. That’s where we are at and that’s why we understand we have a lot more work to do,” he added.

“Scotland have been playing fantastic rugby for a long time. They are a pretty settled group of players and that shows with the way they’re playing.

“We want to give this crowd something to cheer about and show them how willing we are to fight for each other. I’ve been lucky enough to play at Twickenham a fair amount of times, and they have been times when it’s deafening. The feeling and momentum you get from that is a different level.”

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