Rugby World Cup 2015: Farrell urging England to keep composure against Australia

Owen Farrell tells England’s players their World Cup dreams will be over if they fail to stay focused against Australia

Owen Farrell has warned England’s players their World Cup dreams will be over if they fail to stay focused for the full 80 minutes against Australia.

Defeat by the Aussies at Twickenham tomorrow night would effectively end England’s chances of qualifying from Pool A and in the process they will become the first host nation to crash out of a World Cup before the quarter-final stage.

England impressed in the first half during last week’s 28-25 defeat by Wales but their performance level dipped considerably in the second half.

And Farrell stressed: “Our task against Australia is to stay concentrated for 80 minutes, stay in the game and make sure we don’t dip in and out of it because if that is the case then we will get hurt.

“We have full confidence we can do that and a massive belief that we can perform this weekend.

“If it doesn’t work out then we are out of the competition.

“There was a sense of frustration after the weekend but that has gone now and we are calm, we are focused for the weekend and it feels like a good place to be.”

Australia will go top of the group if they beat England and collect a bonus point victory, while a second loss in the ‘Pool of Death’ would end Stuart Lancaster’s World Cup hopes.

Farrell has kept his place at fly-half following his fine showing against Wales, and he will have the dangerous Jonathan Joseph next to him at outside centre following his return from a chest injury, as Sam Burgess makes way. Ben Morgan and Joe Launchbury also come in for the injured Billy Vunipola and Courtney Lawes.

The threat facing the Red Rose is a dangerous one. Australia won the Rugby Championship this year, beating the world’s number one team and World Cup favourites New Zealand to the title, and Farrell believes England must be adaptable tomorrow night.

The Saracens fly-half said: “We are playing against a good team and good teams are going to have patches where they do good things and it is about us getting control of the game, getting straight back on top of them and doing the right thing.

“Australia can play some fantastic rugby coming out of their own half and they have a big aerial threat in [full back] Israel Folau, they shape up well and they get organised quickly.

“The thing for us is to play to where the space is. We have to have a go upfront and to move the ball around. We have some exciting players in this team and we want to show what we can do. We also have a brilliant pack who will want to take anyone on up front and it is about marrying that together and getting the balance right.

“We have to get a feel for what is right in the game and it is about keeping an open mind.”

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